Chickpea Enchiladas a la Vanessita

I’m not going to go into a very long complicated story about the brilliance of the chickpea or it’s meaning to The Cuban and mine’s relationship. Suffice it to say that they are important and this particular dish is something that has become my signature meal for friends, and for us when we just want something a little more special and delicious. This dish, over the last 10 years or so, has become our comfort food and celebratory dish. And, we love it.

After many requests for the recipe, I’ve put this together. I must warn you that I am rubbish at measuring out ingredients, and much of this is highly dependent upon my mood when I’m cooking it. So, feel free to freeform it. You’ll want to taste elements throughout so that you get the right combination of flavours to suit your tastebuds.

Ingredients for the enchiladas & filling
1 packet (8 to 10 tortillas) corn or flour tortillas (I typically use flour because The Cuban prefers them)
2 tins of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 gloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 to 1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 to 1.5 tsp dried oregano
1 to 2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 to 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
salt to taste
[NB: You can also use a packet of your favourite taco seasoning to cook the chickpeas. You can also add more or less spices as you wish and to your taste.]
Generous dollop of sour cream, crème fraîche or vegan equivalent (I’ve been using Oatly’s vegan version recently)
1/2 to 1 c shredded cheddar, pepper jack or hard goats cheese (or other cheese to your liking).

For the enchilada filling, drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium skillet and over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the chopped garlic. Cook for a minute or two until soft, then add the spices and mix it well until it becomes aromatic. Add the chickpeas and then just cover the chickpeas with water and mix well. Turn the heat down, and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates. About halfway through cooking, I taste a chickpea or two to see if the flavour works. If you want to thicken the mixture a bit, add about a 1/2 tsp flour or corn starch and mix well. Remove from the heat and then mix in the cheese and sour cream.

Ingredients for the enchilada sauce:
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp corn starch
2 c vegetable broth
1 c sour cream, crème fraîche or vegan equivalent (I’ve been using Oatly’s vegan version recently)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 to 1 tsp jalapeño powder (to taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp chipotle powder (to taste)
Juice of 1 lime (to taste)

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the corn starch and cook until thickened, about a minute or two. Add the broth and whisk until smooth. Simmer until it bubbles and thickens. Turn off the heat. Stir in the sour cream and spices, and whisk until smooth and completely combined. Then, add the lime juice and mix in well. At this point, I taste the sauce using a corn chip, and adjust the spices as necessary. I have also added chopped jalapeño or jalapeño relish or more of the chili powders. But, add a little at a time so that the sauce doesn’t become too spicy.

Assembling the enchiladas:
Ladle a bit of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish to just cover it completely. Add about 1/4 to 1/3 c of the chickpea mixture to each tortilla and roll them up, placing each seam down in the baking dish. Repeat until you run out of tortillas or filling. (I find about 1/3 c of filling typically yields 8 generous enchiladas.)

Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce making sure that you cover each completely. Add another 1/2 to 1 c of shredded cheese to the top of the dish. [NB: I typically use 1/2 c cheese for the filling and 1/2 c of cheese for the top of the enchiladas and they are plenty cheesy.]

Bake until golden brown and bubbly for about 25 to 30 min at 180 C / 350 F.

Let cool slightly before serving.

I also typically serve these with a simple mango salsa (1 diced mango, 2 diced avocado, and as much diced tomato as you like tossed gently with lime juice and a bit of chipotle powder and a bit of chopped garlic).

Enjoy!

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