I haven’t done much gluten-free cooking before so when a coeliac friend invited us round and asked us to bring a dish, I thought it was a good excuse to try something new. And then I got a bit over-enthusiastic as usual so ended up making three things to bring! Oy vey. I blame it on having too much time on my hands over the holidays, it’s so cold and grim out there, I just end up sitting round the house and coming up with more things to cook! Oh well, it all seems to get eaten somehow…
I found a recipe for a gluten-free Enchilada Bake with Green Chilli Sauce made with corn tortillas and I knew I had to try it – cheese, spicy green chilli sauce, beans – I am a big fan of every ingredient in this dish.
Unfortunately I can’t buy the suggested ‘bags of roasted green chillies’ for the sauce here in the UK. I really wish I could as they sound awesome. Apparently they sell them by the roadside in New Mexico, still warm from being roasted. New Mexico is not somewhere I’ve ever considered moving but I am now tempted!
I did roast some of my own chillies but then realised you would need to spend quite a lot of money in the UK to get 2 cups of roasted chillies since they reduce in size so much when cooked, peeled and chopped. So my suggested cheat is to use jarred jalapenos. The final sauce will be missing that amazing roasted, smoky flavour but it’s the best we can do unless you’ve got a gas burner and a lot of time on your hands. Or you’re some smug person living in New Mexico picking up fresh-roasted chillies by the roadside. Not that I’m jealous!
My other gluten-free dishes were:
7-layer dip and tortilla chips
This has become a big favourite amongst my friends in the UK. It’s so simple I feel a bit guilty getting all the credit when it’s an American classic. There are a few different versions out there, but for me the layers are:
- refried beans (authentic Old El Paso, none of this new Discovery brand nonsense!)
- guacamole (never store bought, it’s so easy to make your own by mashing ripe avocado with lime juice, chopped coriander, and a bit of diced red onion and tomato)
- sour cream
- chopped spring onions
- grated cheese
Usually this is just served in a glass tray or bowl with some tortilla chips for dipping, but I decided to get a bit fancy once and made individual ‘towers’ of dip. Aw yeah baby!
Chocolate souffle cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen
I used this flourless cupcake recipe as is, except without the espresso powder since I never have any, and I find it makes a dozen cupcakes rather than the nine stated in the recipe. But I don’t serve them with the mint cream as I’m not a fan of the old mint and chocolate combo. So I make a sour cream cheese icing with orange zest instead. It’s a winning recipe which I will post here at some point. I pinched it from my sister who has worked as a professional pastry chef so she knows what she’s on about!
Vegetable enchilada bake with green chilli sauce
Adapted from the Gluten Free Goddess
For the sauce:
- 2 cups (approximately 2 jars) jalapenos
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
- 710ml (3 cups) vegetable stock (I used the water from the jarred jalapenos plus some boiling water to make my stock) – reserve 4-5 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A dash of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (sugar or honey should also work fine here)
- 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
- Combine all the ingredients (except the reserved stock and cornflour) in a pot, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir the cornflour into the reserved stock until well blended, and then add to the pot.
- Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Blend until smooth with a handblender or food processor and set aside to cool slightly. Taste, season and add more sweetener if it’s too spicy.
For the enchilada bake:
- 8 corn tortillas (one package)
- 1 can of refried beans (or use black beans, but these are best made from scratch rather than out of a tin – my favourite recipe is here)
- About 250g cheese (I used gouda, or another mild cheese will do fine)
- 2 small red onions, sliced
- 3 peppers, sliced
- 250g (about 2 cups) chopped mushrooms
- 6 tbsp passata (or tomato paste mixed with a little bit of warm water)
- Spices: about 1 tsp each paprika (sweet and smoked), chilli powder, cumin seeds, garlic powder and oregano
- Preheat your oven to 175C / 350F. Fry the onions, peppers and mushrooms in the spices and passata, over medium-high heat, until soft. Remove from heat.
- Pour about 1/2 a cup of the green chilli sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish that is about 8 inches square.
- Coat half the tortillas in the sauce and place in the bottom of the dish, tearing them as necessary to create an even layer.
- Spread the refried beans on the tortillas in the dish (it will make it a bit easier if you warm them slightly first).
- Grate half the cheese over the beans, then spread the vegetables over the cheese in an even layer.
- Coat the rest of the tortillas in sauce and place over the vegetables. Pour the rest of the sauce onto the dish and grate the rest of the cheese on top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes to brown the cheese on top.
I’ve also served this at a dinner party accompanied by mexican rice, black beans and a simple salad of lettuce, tomato and avocado with a lime-honey dressing. Don’t expect any leftovers!
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