The first and only thing I missed when I became vegetarian almost three years ago was shredded chicken enchiladas. I don't even know if it was so much the chicken, more the texture, and the fact that it was enchiladas.
I grew up eating what my family called "Enchiladas de Crema" a dish my mom made about once a week and we all loved it. They were your traditional enchiladas with shredded chicken, green chilies, and jack cheese. The sauce was thick, creamy, and filled with tomatoes. I later learned when my mom taught be how to make them before I left for college the sauce was achieved through a nice mixing of crushed tomatoes and sour cream, hence the "de crema". My dad's family is hispanic, so there's a chance these enchiladas could have been somewhat authentic (not that we would have cared) but they probably weren't.
It's funny looking back on foods I ate as a child. I remember after I got married I begged my mom to track down the chicken and spinach crepe recipe I LOVED as a kid, only the find out the secret ingredient is a package of dry onion soup flavoring... And without sounding pretentious or ungrateful, some sort of veil was lifted. But alas, I chalk it up to generational food trends, because if you've ever read a cookbook from the generation before my parents it was undoubtedly filled with cups of mayonnaise, spam, and all the other wonders of the invention of processed food.
Needless to say, things have shifted a bit. And I'm happy to be part of the new trend - plant-based food (which makes me wonder how ridiculous our kids will find some of the foods we eat today). The enchiladas I make in my home now look a bit different, but haven't changed too much. We swapped shredded chicken for shredded sweet potato, flavored with spices, lime, some onion, cilantro and jalapeño. And we swapped tomato sauce and sour cream for avocado salsa verde, which might be slightly less creamy and decadent, but definitely just as delicious and much fresher. The pan of 8 still gets demolished in a day or two, if not sooner, and they're still just as homemade tasting at the ones my mom made as a kid.
Adapted from: Alexandra Cooks
1 batch Avocado Salsa Verde*
4 cups grated sweet potato, (~ 3 sweet potatoes)
1 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 pinch cayenne (or more for extra spiciness)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, packed
2 large shallots, diced
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
1 can black beans
4oz can green chilies
4oz goat cheese, (optional)
avocado & cilantro (for serving)
Prepare the salsa verde, measure out 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium low heat. Meanwhile, dice the onion and garlic. Add the olive oil, onions and garlic to the hot pan and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the grated sweet potato, coriander, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt to the onion mixture and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring several times to ensure even cooking.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, roughly chop the cilantro then add it to a small bowl with the jalapeño, shallots, and lime juice then stir to combine. When the potatoes are soft, remove from heat and stir in the cilantro mixture. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour about half of the salsa into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Prepare the sweet potato, green chilies, black beans and goat cheese (if using) in a conveyer belt line.
One at a time, crisp the tortilla over open flame (or in a frying pan if you have an electric stove) until crispy and slightly charred on each side. Transfer the tortilla to a cutting board then fill with a big spoonful of sweet potato, beans, chilies, and cheese. Roll up tightly then place seam side down in the baking dish. Continue with the remaining 7 tortillas. Once finished pour the remaining salsa on top, cover, and back for 20 minutes covered, uncover, then back for another 10 minutes.
Serve with avocado & chopped cilantro.
Notes: They are excellent with the avocado salsa verde, which just so happens to be the very first recipe I ever posted (I had no idea what I was doing, but was so excited to be doing it!) but to save time you could totally use 12 oz store bought sauce of your choice. If you like spicy, I'm a fan of Trader Joe's Hatch Valley Salsa.