We’re in that sweet spot of spring when the weather starts to warm and people come out of hibernating and start to socialize, but we’re not yet to the point of jam-packed summer schedules without a free weekend in sight. Having just moved, David and I have been hosting a flurry of casual dinner parties and brunches. A couple of our friends will join us on a Friday evening after work, we’ll give them a tour of the new space, and then we’ll sit down to a long evening of conversation and wine.
With not one but two (!) grocery stores now just blocks from the house, it’s transformed how I cook for friends. Before, I’d stop by a neighborhood market and pick up bread, cheese, and wine and serve something I’d shopped for over several days ahead of time because I couldn’t lug home all the groceries without a car or a cart. Now, so much more is on the menu, like this vegetarian enchilada I made for a group of friends from grad school. With a little prep ahead of time (roasting the vegetables, soaking the beans – all of which can be made ahead and refrigerated), this fits the bill perfectly for a dinner party because it doesn’t demand much of the hosts in terms of prep work or mess.
Sweet Potato and Pepper Enchiladas
Serves 6 (about 1 1/2 tortillas each)
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted for 30 minutes
1 poblano pepper, chopped and roasted
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 ½ cups dried black beans (soaked overnight, brought to a boil then simmered for 2 hours) – or about 3-4 cups of cooked or canned beans
8 whole wheat tortillas
1 small jar or can enchilada sauce (8-10 oz.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses
Garnish: cilantro, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and roast the vegetables: chop the sweet potatoes and the poblano pepper into bite-sized pieces (about ½ inch) and toss lightly with olive oil. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until soft, tossing every 10 minutes to ensure the vegetables don’t stick to the pan.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and the prepared black beans. Heat through, cooking for another 5 minutes. Toss the beans, pepper, and sweet potatoes together.
3. Assemble the enchiladas. Spread 1/3 of the enchilada sauce in an even layer on the bottom of a greased casserole dish (usually 9×13 inches). Spoon a generous portion of enchilada sauce into a tortilla and spread evenly over the surface. Add 1/8 of the filling to the tortilla and roll up the sides (forming a long, skinny shape kind of like a fruit rollup). Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Arrange the tortillas in a single row so they fit snugly in the casserole dish. Top with any remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees until all ingredients are warmed through and the cheese is bubbly on top. Garnish with extra cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.