Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Thanks for voting for enchiladas, team. Betsy and I seriously thank you from the bottom of our very full stomachs.
But let me ask a question: Is it possible to have a light enchilada?
Of course, like anyone I love a huge plate of gooey, cheesy enchiladas swimming in a rich, spicy sauce. That sounds just fine.
But sometimes you can go light on the rich sauces and add just enough cheese to make it known that there is cheese. The awesome flavor combos between browned sweet potatoes, tomatillo salsa, and a spicy homemade enchilada sauce make this oh so very possible.
But, to me, the shocking thing about this recipe for Sweet Potato Enchiladas is just how fast it is to make. It’s seriously under an hour which is probably a shock for anyone who has tried to make a complicated meat-based enchilada.
1) Heat the sauce ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat until simmering. Stir together to combine and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Keep warm over low heat until needed.
2) Peel and chop the sweet potato (you want about a pound of sweet potato). Slice it into matchsticks and then chop it into 1 inch pieces.
3) In a large skillet, add a drizzle of oil over medium heat. Add chopped sweet potatoes and cook until they are browned lightly, about 6-8 minutes. Then add chopped onions and a pinch of salt and pepper and continue to cook until onions are soft.
4) Add salsa and drained and rinsed beans to the skillet and stir to combine and heat through. Once the mixture cooks for a few minutes, remove it from the heat and season it with salt and pepper.
5) TO make enchiladas, add a few spoonfuls of sauce to a large baking dish. Microwave flour tortillas for 20 seconds on high to loosen them. Then, working with one at a time, add some grated monterey jack cheese to the tortilla and top with sweet potato mixture.
Roll it tightly and place it in the baking dish. Repeat until you fill the baking dish. You should get 10-12 enchiladas in the dish and will probably have enough filling to do a smaller second dish.
6) Once your enchiladas are in the dish, pour sauce over the enchiladas. Top with crumbled queso fresco cheese.
7) Cover the dish with foil and bake it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then remove the foil and broil it on high heat to crisp up the top of the enchiladas (3-5 minutes depending on your broiler). Keep a close eye on it while broiling as it can burn quickly.
8) Let enchiladas cool briefly and then serve with sour cream, avocado, and fresh cilantro.
Sweet Potato Enchiladas
You can buy enchilada sauce these days for a few bucks. Most of the versions in the store are decent and you can absolutely use them in this recipe. I have no issue with that. My argument for making your own here is that this sauce is really simple. You probably have most of the dried stuff on hand and starting with a tomato sauce and vegetable broth base makes for a cleaner finished sauce.
The spices will really come through in this version once it simmers for a few minutes. Unlike the store-bought versions that rely mostly on salt, this version is lousy with delicious spices.
This filling of these Sweet Potato Enchiladas reminds me a bit of my spicy chorizo taco recipe, but it leaves out the chorizo and goes in a veggie direction which is just fine. Chopping up the sweet potatoes is sort of the hardest part. Peel them, cut them into planks, then matchsticks, then into about 1 inch pieces.
Ultimately, you want about a pound of sweet potatoes which is about one large one or maybe two smaller ones.
The other filling stuff is pretty basic. A chopped onion is always good and I just used some canned black beans and my favorite jar of tomatillo salsa. The tomatillo bitterness goes well with the sweet potato, but no need to use this exact brand. Whatever you can find, or like, will work great.
To cook the filling, add a good drizzle of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped sweet potatoes and cook them until they start to brown a bit around the edges. Then add the onion and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Cook this mixture until the veggies are soft (maybe 5 more minutes).
Once the vegetables have softened, add in the drained (and rinsed) black beans and tomatillo salsa.
Love the colors in this!
Making the Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Making an enchilada is pretty straightforward now. I recommend microwaving the flour tortillas for 20 seconds or so to loosen them up. Then add a small amount of grated monterey jack cheese and a heaping spoonful of the sweet potato mixture. You can really pack them full.
Roll the tortillas tightly and stack them tightly in a baking dish with some enchilada sauce in the bottom.
If you’re using a standard 9×13 baking dish you should be able to fit in 10-12 enchiladas and this recipe will probably leave you with enough filling for a second, smaller dish of enchiladas also.
Once the enchiladas are in the dish, pour over some sauce (feel free to go heavy or light with it) and sprinkle on a bit of crumbled queso fresco.
Cover the enchiladas and bake it for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then turn the broiler on high and broil the dish for 3-5 minutes depending on your broiler. Be sure to keep a close eye on it while it’s broiling as the enchiladas can burn quickly.
See those little charred bits around the edges though? That’s good stuff.
Scoop these Sweet Potato Enchiladas onto a plate and you are in serious business.
Like I said, the thing that’s most surprising about these guys is just how light they are! They won’t leave you with that special self-loathing feeling that some enchiladas will give you.
It’s fresh flavors, treated pretty simply! What’s not to love about that?
Oh… and for those curious, of course you could use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. I was just in the mood for flour on this particular day.