The Healthy Librarian's (Husband's) "Enlightened" Veganomicon Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce
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Who doesn't love latkes? Crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside--potato pancakes made with grated potatoes, onion, eggs, plenty of salt, and fried up in peanut oil. And topped with sour cream. When I was a kid, our traditional Chanukah dinner was always potato latkes, corned beef sandwiches, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Always! A deadly trifecta, but who knew?
As good as they taste, I wasn't about to fry up a batch this year. I've half-heartedly looked for a fat-free version, but honestly, I don't think it's worth the effort. It couldn't possibly compare to the real thing.
Frying latkes in oil is what it's all about. Last year in the New York Times Karen Barrow shared opinions from both cookbook authors and amateur cooks about whether it's possible to make a "healthy tasty latke". If you must try, here's one possibility, from Steven Raichlen.
“I’m not going to ruin my latke joy to save a few calories once a year,” Elizabeth, one NYT reader, wrote.
“Spare me,” chided another. “I’ll take my latkes fried in lots of oil. It works for my 91-year-old grandparents.”
Joan Nathan, a well respected cookbook author and expert in Jewish foods, said she’s not surprised at the widespread resistance to making a traditional treat more healthful. When once asked to come up with baked latkes that tasted as good as fried, she tried. “But I ended up throwing all the recipes in the garbage,” she said.
Another reason for the fried latke’s persistence: oil isn’t just a cooking ingredient, it’s central to the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah.
“It’s all about the oil,” said Susie Fishbein, author of “Kosher by Design Lightens Up.” You can spray your latkes with oil and bake them, she said, but “most people are not going to cheer when that comes to the table. It has to be fried.”
Wednesday night was the first night of Chanukah. As I drove home from work in the dark, cold, and snow--the perfect setting for the first night of Chanukah--I knew my husband was going to have something delicious for dinner. No last minute scrambling in the kitchen for me on this Wednesday night. And what perfect timing that he decided to try his hand out on a healthy potato dish for the first night of Chanukah: Veganomicon's Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce. We both agreed--it was a great substitute for traditional Chanukah latkes.
The Chanukah Miracle Story--When One Day's Worth of Oil Lasts for Eight Days
Oil is "central to the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. After winning back their land in battle, the Jews needed to light a menorah as part of a rededication of their Temple. Although they only had enough oil for one day, the oil, miraculously, lasted for eight." (Joan Nathan in the NYT) Tada! That's where the connection to eating foods fried in oil on Chanukah comes from.
Bet You Can't Eat Just One? So Why Even Start?
So, here's my cheesy take on celebrating Chanukah--if you're not ready to cut out all the oil in your diet right now--try making one day's worth of oil (say about 1/4 cup) last for eight days. That's 1.5 tsp of oil a day if my math is right! It's doable. Experience your own miracle of good health by making one day's worth of oil last for eight days! Call it a Chanukah challenge.
Thanks to Cheri for sharing the video! If you aren't seeing the video, click here
Happy Chanukah! Candlelight by the Maccabeats
The Healthy Librarian's Husband's "Enlightened" Veganomicon Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce
To get a copy of the recipe on one page, click here.
This beats the lowly latke hands-down for taste and nutrition. You could probably live on these: with 0 cholesterol, 9.2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, 187% of vitamin A, 261% of vitamin C, 16% calcium, and 27% iron--not to mention the health benefits of kale and tomatoes.
Cooking & Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours
Enchilada Chile Sauce:
1 onion, cut into small dice
3 large green chiles (such as Anaheim or even Italian-style long green peppers), roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped coarsely. The best way to roast peppers is over high heat right on top of the gas burner--don't do this if you have an electric stove. Use tongs to turn them, and rotate as they blacken & blister. When 75% done roasting, drop the pepper in a bowl or a paper bag, and allow it sit for 10-15 minutes, until it's cool enough to handle. Peel away the skin, and then dice. No worries about remaining charred parts. If you don't have a gas stove, roast them on a grill or in a very hot oven. Use canned green chilis in a pinch.
2-3 teaspoons of chile powder, preferably ancho chili (note: I just purchased this at Penzey's & it's amazing--not hot, just rich & mellow tasting)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon marjoram or Mexican oregano (epazote)
1 (28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred--like Muir Glen. I prefer crushed to diced.)
1 tsp. sugar (opt. or use agave)
salt to taste (optional)
Potato and Kale Filling:
1 pound waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or Red
1/2 pound kale, washed, trimmed, and chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water (plus more for sauteeing onions & kale)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) coarsely chopped, plus additional for garnish
Salt to taste (optional)
6 large sprouted grain tortillas, like Ezekiel or French Meadow, or Ezekiel Gluten-free. (alternatively, you can also use 12-14 corn tortillas)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and have ready a shallow casserole dish, at least 11 1/2 X 7 1/2.
Prepare the enchilada sauce first:
1. In a large, heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions. Let them start to brown & give off their own liquid before adding any broth or water to the pan. When they start to get a little dry, and start to stick a bit, add a little vegetable broth or water--just enough to deglaze the pan. Add more liquid as needed, but not too much. Saute for 4-7 minutes, until the onions are softened.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and remove from the heat. When the mixture has cooled enough, taste and adjust the salt if necessary.
3. Puree the mixture with an immersion or regular blender until smooth and even.
Prepare the filling:
1. Peel and dice the potatoes, then boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Saute the garlic in about 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth in a large saucepan or frying pan (that has a lid) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is sizzling and slightly browned (be careful not to let it burn!!)
3. Add more broth if necessary, and then add the kale, sprinkle with a little salt, and raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly to cover the kale with the garlic. Partially cover the pot to steam the kale until it has wilted, 4-6 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and mix in the potatoes, the 1/4 cup of vegetable stock, lime juice, pumpkin seeds, and salt, if you're using it. Use the back of a wooden spoon, or the bottom of a flat drinking glass to mash some of the potatoes. Cook another 3-4 minutes, until the stock is absorbed. Add more lime juice or seasoning to taste.
Create an enchilada assembly line:
1. Have ready a pie plate or something similar filled with about 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce, a 9 X 13 casserole dish, your stack of tortillas, a heated griddle or a pan large enough to heat your tortillas--because that's how you'll soften them up, and the potato and kale filling. You can also soften the tortillas one at a time in the microwave if you prefer--follow the directions on the package.
2. Ladle a little bit of the enchilada sauce onto the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish and spread it around.
3. Take a tortilla, place it on the heated griddle or pan for 30 seconds, then flip it over and heat until the tortilla has become soft & pliable. Or soften them in the microwave. Drop the softened tortilla onto pie plate filled with sauce; allow it to get completely covered in sauce, flip it over, and coat the other side.
4. Now, place the tortillas either in the casserole dish (the easiest way) or on an additional plate. Place 1/6 of the potato filling down the middle of the tortilla and roll it up. Continue with rest of tortillas, tightly packing enchildas next to each other.
5. Pour about a cup of sauce over the top (reserving some for later when you serve the enchiladas), cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until edges of the tortillas poking out of sauce look just a little browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top individual servings with any remaining enchilada sauce, warmed slightly.
Enjoy! Happy Chanukah! Sure it's a bit of a pitchky-patchky, as my mom would say, but not half as hard as making potato pancakes. Bonus: No grease splatters on your walls, or that fried potato onion smell that hangs in your house for days. These enchiladas smell divine!
Potato and kale enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce
Serving Size: 1 serving
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