One of my favorite ethnic flavors is Mexican food, especially when it includes a variety of herbs and spices. Mole sauce, pronounced mow-lay, is on the top of my list for its complex and layered flavor and is almost always my first choice at any Mexican restaurant. Though the traditional mole sauce you will find in central Mexico takes hours, if not days of slow cooking, I have found a quick recipe that is also very delicious and calls for second helpings every time I make it for guests. Many versions of mole, though not all, do include cinnamon and chocolate, as does this recipe. Here is how I make my mole sauce for these oh-so-yummy vegetable enchiladas. Of course, you can always add some chicken to the vegetable mix if you prefer.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/3 cup gluten-free flour mix
4 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate
10 corn tortilla shells
3/4 lb (about 2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sautéed vegetables of your choice:
sliced zucchini and yellow squash
chopped red, yellow or orange pepper
cooked or canned black beans
fresh or frozen corn kernals
sliced black or green olives
To make mole sauce: Heat oil in large skillet or saucepan. Add onion, garlic, oregano cumin and cinnamon. Cover and cook on medium heat until onions are tender, stirring frequently. Mix in chili powder and gluten-free flour and stir for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth, increase heat to medium-high. Boil to reduce to 3 cups, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
To sauté vegetables: Heat olive oil in large skillet. Sauté the onions until they start to become transparent then add the mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft then add your carrots and cook for about one minute. Add your zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper then cook another minute until all vegetables are slightly soft but not over cooked. Mix in your black beans, corn and olives. Cool and mix in the fresh cilantro.
To assemble enchiladas: With just a bit of olive oil in skillet on medium heat, heat 10 tortillas on both sides so they are pliable and slightly toasted. Stack on plate as you toast each one. Spread 1/3 cup of the mole sauce onto the bottom of the 8×12 inch baking dish. Dip one tortilla into the cooled mole sauce to coat both sides. Place covered tortilla onto a plate, add a strip of vegetable mix in center and top with cheese. Roll the tortilla and place flap side down into the baking dish. Repeat this process until your dish is filled two rows of enchiladas. Spread 1/3 cup of mole sauce over the top of your enchiladas in the dish and sprinkle with additional cheese. (This can be done 1 day ahead, but save adding the final layer of cheese just before you place into the oven. You will want to cover your enchiladas with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. After the enchiladas are topped with cheese, cover with foil and bake 20 minutes or 30 minutes if chilled. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until sauce bubbles. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes to settle.
For my enchiladas I made a double batch so that I could bake the second half for my vegetarian sister and her kids for their visit to Portland tomorrow. This is a family favorite for us and we serve it with Mexican rice, black beans and some home made guacamole. Ummmm, I am getting very hungry! ~ Lia