I made this for dinner tonight. It is a reliable classic that I’ve been making for years – the recipe comes from The Best 125 Meatless Mexican Dishes. Unfortunately, I’ve never bothered to try any of the other 124 recipes, because I started with this one and it’s such a hit every time I make it. This recipe has gone to several Christmas Eve dinners in Indiana and at least a couple dinner parties. I have not done too much to this except up the amount of cheese called for; the original recipe was rather stingy with it. And I’m going to ask you to fry the tortillas, which the original doesn’t. It adds some fat, of course, but then the tortillas don’t all break into shreds the instant you try to fill them.
Place in a large bowl, cover with water & weight down with a plate:
10 dried New Mexico chiles
Microwave for 10 minutes & then set aside to cool.
4 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
1 jalapeno chile, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 T. oil
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
Peel & dice the potatoes and boil in heavily salted water until tender. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, toss in the cumin seeds. Cook until they change color, then add the onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add 2 cloves of the minced garlic, the jalapeno, & the potatoes. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
6 oz. sharp cheese (you choose; I like Grafton 2-year cheddar)
Remove the chilies from the water. Cut the tops & stems out (kitchen scissors are much easier than a knife) and pull the seeds and membranes out. Drain the chiles and place them in a blender with:
2 1/2 c. vegetable stock (I like The Organic Gourmet’s – comes in a little jar & looks like Vegemite)
the reserved 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
and puree *thoroughly*. A few minutes at least. Believe me, it’s important – you’re putting it through a sieve in a minute. Preheat the oven to 350. Heat a T. of oil in a small skillet and fry:
12 corn tortillas
one at a time, setting them aside on paper toweling when they are warmed through and softened.
In a saucepan, heat:
2 T. oil
and when hot, add:
3 T. flour
and stir constantly until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Strain the chile puree into the pan, forcing it through a sieve with a spoon or spatula, and add:
2 t. apple cider vinegar
2 t. oregano (pref. Mexican)
1 bay leaf
Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes over medium heat, until somewhat thickened. Remove the bay leaf. Spread 1/2 c. of the sauce over the bottom of a 9×13 in. glass or ceramic baking dish. Place a dinner plate on your work surface. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, briefly immerse it in the sauce to coat it lightly, then place it on the plate and put a portion of the cheese and then the filling down the center of it. Roll the tortilla up loosely and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. When all the tortillas have been rolled and filled, pour all of the remaining sauce over them. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 to heat through. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.