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Nirvana Enchilada Casserole


Isa does it by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I made this for the Summer 2018 potluck in Portland. It was like a Mexican version of lasagna with the corn tortillas replacing the noodles. It is gluten-free.


For the potatoes:
680 g1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
15 ml1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh black pepper
2 ml1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Enchilada sauce:
20 ml4 teaspoons cumin seeds
15 ml1 tablespoon coriander seeds
15 ml1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced medium
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (use 2 if you like more heat) (I omitted)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
10 ml2 teaspoons dried oregano (Mexican, preferably)
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
5 ml1 teaspoon salt
5 ml1 teaspoon agave nectar

For the filling:
15 ml1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
230 g8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ml1/2 teaspoon salt
710 ml3 cups cooked pinto beans (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
30 ml2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

White sauce
240 ml1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
180 ml3/4 cups water
2 ml1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ml2 teaspoons cornstarch

For assembly:
18 8-inch corn tortillas

Optional toppings:
Fresh chopped cilantro


Make the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the potatoes with the oil right on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with fresh black pepper and salt, and toss to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F, flip potatoes and bake for 10 more minutes. Leave oven at 350°F, because that is the temp that the enchiladas need to bake at.
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Dry toast the cumin and coriander seeds in the pan for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until they’re fragrant and a few shades darker, just be careful not to burn. Add the oil and sauté the onion, jalapeño and garlic with oregano and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt and agave, cover pot, turn the heat up to bring to a slow boil. Let cook for about 20 minutes.
Once cooked, purée until smooth with either an immersion blender or by transferring to a blender or food processor. If using a blender, intermittently lift the lid to let steam escape so that it doesn’t build up and explode and kill you. Also, note that if you use an immersion blender you really have to blend a lot to get the seeds to smooth out. Taste for salt and set aside to cool.

Make the filling:
Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion in oil with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, 15 seconds or so. Add the mushrooms and salt, and cook until they’ve released a lot of their moisture, about 5 minutes. Add the pinto beans and lime juice and cook just until heated through, 2 minutes or so.
When the roasted potatoes are ready, toss them into the filling mix. Taste for salt and set aside.

Make the white sauce:
Drain the cashews. Add everything to the blender and purée until completely smooth. It’s rather thick, so definitely scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula often to make sure you get everything. Refrigerate until ready to use.

So we’re just going to be adding layers of sauce, tortillas and filling, then topping it all off. Let’s begin.
Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole pan. Ladle in a thin layer of enchilada sauce, then layer 6 tortillas into the pan. Now things are going to get a bit messy! Ladle in another layer of enchilada sauce (about a cup’s worth), and flip each tortilla to smother in the sauce. Each one should be coated, but you should still be able to see the tortilla, that is to say, it shouldn’t be drowning in the sauce. Next, layer the tortillas so that they’re slightly overlapping and covering the bottom of the pan.
Now add half of the filling, and pour on 1/2 cup or so of sauce. Layer in 6 more tortillas and repeat the process of smother each of them in a cup of sauce. Cover with the remaining filling. Once again pour 1/2 cup of sauce over the filling, and add the final layer of tortillas. Smother those in a cup of sauce. Reserve the rest of the sauce (if any) for serving.
Finally, top with the cashew sauce. I pour it directly out of the blender and try to ribbon it in thick globs over the top. It doesn’t have to be neat, it will look cute pretty much no matter what.
Place in the 350° oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. The topping should be lightly golden.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with a handful of pepitas and chopped fresh cilantro if you like. Now it’s ready to serve!