20 October 2009

Hatch Chile and Teese Enchiladas

The local store had fresh Hatch chiles today, which is a rare event here. They normally get some around the Hatch Chile Festival, no one buys them, and they mostly go bad. Last year I bought all they had left and canned them.

As any chile lover knows, no matter what kind of chile you like, Hatch probably does them best. There is a wide range of chiles grown in the area but the long green ones are what are normally sold fresh as Hatch chiles.

So, Hatch chiles on the counter and I have a new Teese product called 'nacho sauce' to try. Delicious black beans cooked in the fridge (sourced from Rancho Gordo - fantastic black beans called midnight black). Leftover corn tortillas in the fridge. Sounds like a plan.

Teese is a vegan cheese substitute made in Chicago. Vegan 'cheeses' conjure up all sorts of controversy. Does it melt, is it stringy, does it taste like play-do or cheese, and on and on and on. Every brand seems to have fans and detractors. I find the Teese fake mozzarella very good on pizzas and lasagna, etc. The regular cheddar is ok. The creamy cheddar one makes great mac & cheese, and this is my first try at the nacho sauce cheese. Teese comes in a plastic tube like bulk sausage and has a strange texture straight from the tube. It is shiny like plastic and slightly rubbery. But it actually ends up being pretty good when it is used in cooking or on grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.

Teese creamy cheddar and nacho sauces are very soft in their tube. They exude a little water, so be careful when opening it as the water will squirt on you if you press too hard while cutting it open. You can make a bechamel sauce and melt the Teese into that and use that as your cheese sauce. But the nacho sauce flavor is fine on its own. I opened it and used my fingers to squish it around over the enchiladas. Squish is the best description I can give you. When it is melted, you can smooth it around a little with a spoon if it didn't flow around well enough.

Hatch Chile and Teese Enchiladas

1 1/2 c chopped mild Hatch chiles
1 c black beans
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp NM mild chile powder
10 corn tortillas
1 10 oz tube Teese nacho sauce

Preheat oven to 350-375F

Spray cooking spray on a dish about 7 x 10 inches or so, like a small lasagna dish.

Blister and peel your chiles. You'll probably need 8-12 chiles depending on their size. Blister them until the skin is black. Toss them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 15-30 minutes, then remove the blackened skin and seeds. Chop the chiles.

I use the gas burners on the stove but you can also do it under the broiler. If the chiles you have are HOT, then do it outside on the grill. Blistering hot peppers inside can be a painful experience. I love chiles and eat them daily, but I still fear airborne capsaicin. It will hurt your eyes, make you cough and is hard to ventilate out the windows.

Using heat proof tongs, char your tortillas a little.

Again, I just lay them down on top of a burning gas flame and turn them after 15 seconds or so. You can also heat them in a cast iron skillet, a comal, outside on the grill or inside on a grill pan. You want them to turn soft and get a little black char on them

Combine the chiles, beans, garlic powder, salt and chile powder in a bowl and mix well.

Fill each tortilla with a couple of spoons of filling, roll them up and put them seam down into the dish.

Squish the Teese over the top evenly.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes covered. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes until it is bubbly.

Serve with jalapenos, vegan sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or hot sauce.

Note: These are even better as leftovers. They can easily be re-heated in the microwave

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