Monday, August 28, 2006

Sweet Potato and Bean Enchilada Casserole

I've been all nerded-up lately about the arrival of fall weather, so I decided during the week that I was gonna cook some more fall-friendly food this weekend, now that it's been delightfully cool in the evenings and I can use the oven without making my apartment a sweltering heat-pit. But of course, as always, the weather had to be ornery and peak in the 80's this weekend, effectively ruining the fall spirit of all the food I made.

Nonetheless, I *did* end up making a fantastically yummy cold-weather dinner on Saturday (despite the sweltering humidity) which I will post about tomorrow. I also ended up making this "nothing-special" dish on Friday night, unfortunately. It's not terrible, and I've been eating left-overs all weekend and will continue to during the week. But it's definitely not worth writing home about.

So next time around, I'm *DEFINITELY* tweaking it so it's a bit more flavorful.

  • 18 vegan corn tortillas

  • 2 cans vegan enchilada sauce

  • One 12 oz. pack of vegan ground-beef crumbles

  • One packet of taco seasoning

  • One small can of black beans, drained

  • One small can of red kidney beans, drained

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled

  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced

  • Some nutritional yeast

  • 2-3 cups of Fritos

  • Cilantro


Steam the sweet potatoes until they are near to soft and then dice them into smallish chunks--the oven will take care of the rest of their cooking process. Mix the frozen "beef" crumbles, jalapeno, and taco seasoning together and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375. Take out a large, deep pan (I am bad with dimensions--it's the size that'll fit 2x3 corn tortillas in it, with just slight overlap). Coat the bottom with half a can of enchilada sauce. Layer on 6 corn tortillas. Add the sweet potatoes and all the beans. Pour another 1/2 can of enchilada sauce over this layer. Add 6 more corn tortillas. Top with the fake-meat mixture. Add another 1/2 can of enchilada sauce. Layer on 6 more corn tortillas. Top with remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, top the casserole with the Fritos, and return it to the oven (without the foil) for about 10-15 more minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

The problems with this casserole were that a) it was too dry--the lack of, say, vegan cheese made the enchilada sauce absorb into the corn tortillas without retaining the moistness of the sauce like enchiladas normally do, and b) the flavors were a bit too confused--the bottom layer was yumtastic, the sweet potatoes adding a nice sweet touch to the meal in contrast to the saltier beans, but the fake meat threw the rest of the casserole off a bit too much by being too overpowering and spicy-tasting. The next time around I will probably contemplate using vegan cheese in each layer, though I don't think it is *necessary* to make this a good dish. I think I will also try to play up the sweetness of the dish more, eliminating the meat layer and perhaps replacing it with a sweet-corn and diced mango layer instead. This would also call for an adjustment to the enchilada sauce as well, but there are plenty of tomatillo enchilada sauces or tomatillo salsas that could make for a much tastier topping.

So yeah, I wouldn't recommend this recipe enough to even put it in my sidebar recipe-links, but I think with some definite toying with the ingredients, it may end up there down the road.

Until then, I blame the humidity for f-ing it up.



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