Divine Dining

Roasted corn and tomato enchiladas for a Siete you’ll not soon forget
May. 06, 2014 @ 06:40 PM

Pretend it’s New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Picture a juggler with five precarious balls up in the air at once, who suddenly has to sneeze. Consider the ball dropped. I say this because, you are reading this recipe for deliciosa roasted vegetable enchiladas on May 7, Siete de Mayo, instead of in time for May 5, Cinco de Mayo. Oops.

Never one to concede defeat easily, I say down with a predictable Cinco! Siete is where it’s at. Cinco de Mayo is so two days ago. Before you pack your sombrero into the closet, let me encourage you to create a Mexican feast on the humble Siete de Mayo. 

Everyone expects enchiladas on May 5, but you’ll be the hit of dinner with friends or your family if you surprise them with these robustly flavored roasted corn and tomato enchiladas on the 7th. Go big this Siete! Serve seven kinds of salsas, seven toppings for ice cream for dessert, and invite seven of your favorite people. Any Jose can pull off Cinco de Mayo, but it takes true vision to give Siete de Mayo the fiesta it deserves. Enchiladas filled with pepper jack cheese, garlic-roasted vegetables and bright cilantro, gloriously swimming in a homemade spicy sauce, will make it a Siete you’ll not soon forget.

Roasted Corn and Tomato Enchiladas

Serves 7. (Imagine that!)

Filling:

2 cups frozen corn (fresh is better but isn’t available locally just yet)

5 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, smashed

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 cups grated pepper jack cheese

Sauce:

4 tablespoons flour, browned in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

about 3 cups hot water

14 corn tortillas

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

fresh cilantro, for garnish

Toss corn, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and oil together and roast at 400 degrees until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir halfway through. Heat 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet on high heat. (This is why you use vegetable and not olive oil, which smokes at this high a heat.) Dip tortillas in oil a few seconds per side, until soft and pliable, drain on paper towels. Fill each tortilla with 2 teaspoons of cheese and 2 teaspoons of the corn tomato mixture, roll and place seam side down in a large glass baking dish. Now, prepare the easy enchilada sauce. Heat 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil on medium in the same skillet you used for heating the tortillas. Add cumin, chili powder and browned flour, whisking well to form a fragrant paste. Add tomato paste and whisk well. Add 1⁄4 cup of warm water, whisking to combine and remove any lumps and, once smooth, add more water, up to 3 cups. Allow to thicken on medium heat, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper (only at the end, the flavor concentrates as it cooks so if you salt at the beginning, it will most likely get too salty on you). Sauce should be about the consistency of a thin gravy. It will thicken more in the oven. Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with a bit of the leftover filling and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees, until bubbling and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Top with fresh chopped cilantro.

Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.