Enchiladas inspire cook to go beyond steamed squash

By Sandy Oliver Special to the News, Special to the BDN
Posted April 23, 2010, at 4:55 p.m.

One sound, whole winter squash still in storage plus a half of one peeled and cut up for use in the refrigerator are waiting for me to be inspired. Sometimes about all the inspiration I can manage is to steam, then whip them with a little cream or butter and light brown sugar for plopping onto the dinner plate next to the main dish.

So I was eating lunch out with a couple of friends in a restaurant and saw Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas on the menu and I though right away of a new way to use my winter squash. Sweet potatoes and the squash are both orange, have similar textures, and can be cooked up about the same way. I ordered the enchiladas and they were so good, I went home and made something very like them.

The restaurant made a puree of the sweet potatoes and folded black beans into it. I detected cumin in the flavoring. They were folded up in a flour tortilla and heated with a little cheese on top. Sour cream and salsa were served on the side.

Around our house, we like things a little chunky so I cut my squash into half- to three-quarter-inch dice, heated up one of the big cast-iron skillets, added olive oil and pan-roasted the squash. I sprinkled on finely minced garlic, and when the squash was just tender, I dusted it with ground cumin and a little chili powder. Then I stirred in the black beans.

I decided to use small corn tortillas and green enchilada sauce. They were really tasty, richly flavored with the squash and substantial with beans for a main dish.

It occurs to me that this would be a perfectly fine filling for tacos, too, with grated carrots, shredded lettuce, cheese and salsa on top.

And of course, if you have sweet potatoes or like them better than squash, then you can use those instead. It is a nice way to use leftover cooked squash, too.

I have been taking the cheapskate route with black beans lately, soaking them overnight and cooking them up on the wood-burning cook stove. They are handy for adding to salad or whirling up in the food processor with olive oil for a dip. In the summer I’ll revert to canned black beans. You actually could use any kind of bean you like in this recipe. It’s just that the filling of dark orange studded with black is pretty attractive.

I also have been buying enchilada sauce, although one of my goals is to grow tomatillos and can my own sauce. You could be a real Philistine and do as I do sometimes, and substitute salsa for enchilada sauce.

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. E-mail: tastebuds@prexar.com. For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/04/23/living/enchiladas-inspire-cook-to-go-beyond-steamed-squash/ printed on September 17, 2014