Enchilada Bake w/ TexMex Tofu, Poblano Sauce, Cucumber Pico


Many Americans took a moment to appreciate Mexican culture and cuisine this week, on May 5th, to celebrate the 1862 Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican Army, lead by Benito Juarez, won a unlikely victory over the French. This victory, inadvertently, interrupted Napoleon III plans to provide weapons to the Confederate Army in exchange for cotton. That’s right, the Battle of Puebla significantly aided the Union’s ultimate victory during a very critical moment of the Civil War. You can read more fascinating history on this topic by clicking the link: Cinco de Mayo

Mexican cuisine happens to be one of my favorites, and so I celebrate its flavors and techniques on a weekly basis. Cinco de Mayo 2020 actually found me in a blase type mood, and so I ended up having a late night bowl of soup made with a handful of raviolis I pulled out of my freezer. This recipe is actually from one week ago (thanks a lot Hoopla!), and was developed due to a random poblano impulse buy the wifey made, while picking up a few necessary essentials on one of our masked bi-weekly supply runs. Enchiladas require a bit of prep work, but they are also very forgiving, versatile, and are a great way to utilize any veggies or proteins reaching their peak freshness.

TexMex Tofu and Charred Pablanos

Ingredients

TexMex Tofu

1 block tofu, crumbled

2 tbsp chili powder

3 tbsp cumin powder

1 tbsp smoked paprika

juice from 1/2 lime

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

salt and pepper

2 tbsp oil of choice

3/4 cup water or vegetable stock

Poblano Sauce

2 poblano chilies, left whole

2 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

juice of 1/2 a lime

salt and pepper

Cucumber Pico

1 sm cucumber, peeled and diced

2 large tomatoes, cored and diced

1/3 cup red onion, minced

1 jalapeno, stem removed and diced (remove seeds and membrane to reduce heat)

juice of 1/2 lime

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

salt and pepper

Enchilada Bake

8 corn tortillas, warmed until softened

1 – 1/2 cups TexMex Tofu

1 cup Poblano sauce

1 cup cheese of choice, optional

4 – 5 rings of red onion, optional

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small mixing bowl with a lid, combine all the pico ingredients and stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill, at least 30 minutes before serving.

In a cast iron skillet over med high flame, add 2 tbsps of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the TexMex tofu seasonings, reserving the fresh cilantro, to the oil and allow to bloom for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. To that, add in the tofu and stir until well combined. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring up to a simmer, then reduce the flame to low. Continue to cook until the liquid has completely reduced. Turn off the flame, stir in the cilantro, taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Set aside.

Over a high flame or under the broiler, char the poblano chilies until blackened on all sides. Transfer the chilies while still very hot to a paper bag, heat safe storage container with lid, or aluminum foil pack. Seal the chilies well and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the chilies and place on a clean surface. Peel away the charred outer skin and discard. Remove the stem and seeds, discard. Transfer the chilies to a Ninja or blender and puree with the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, lime juice, and fresh cilantro, in batches if necessary. Transfer to a saucepan over med low heat and reduce by half. Turn off the heat and set aside.

To assemble the enchiladas, prep a casserole dish with a thin coating of oil. Ladle enough of the sauce to evenly cover the bottom of the dish. Grab one warmed corn tortilla and spoon in a couple tablespoons of the seasoned tofu. Carefully roll the tortilla around the tofu filling and place in the dish, seam side down. Continue with the remaining tortillas and filling. Ladle additional sauce over top of the tortillas so that each one is evenly coated with the sauce. Top with shredded cheese and red onion, if using, then transfer to the oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the Cucumber Pico, serve immediately.

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