Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whip It Up - Week 4 - Vegetarian Style

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas with Queso Blanco

This week's hint was vegetarian. My first thought is "no meat!? I can't do that!" (and if you are a vegetarian or vegan, I salute you. I just like my steak).

I was craving Mexican recently, and decided to come up with this concoction after looking in my pantry. I was also able to use only what I had on hand. Bonus! Also, you get two recipes in one - keep reading to see how.

I also made homemade Queso Blanco, with mixed results.

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas (with a bonus recipe!)

1 c instant rice
2 c salsa, divided
1/2 c water
1 can black beans
8-10 6" flour tortillas
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided

Mix rice and 1/2 c salsa and 1/2 c water in a 1 1 /2 quart microwave safe dish. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until rice has absorbed most of the liquid. If you get it a little dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water. (If you stop now, you've made shortcut Mexican rice. Congratulations!).

Drain the beans in a colander and rinse them under cold water (to cut down on the salt).

Add the beans to the rice and mix until combined. Place approximately 3-4 Tof the mixture down the middle of a tortilla, add 1-2 T of cheese and roll up. This will make 8-10 enchiladas, depending on how much you stuff them.

Place seam side down in a 13x9 baking dish (lightly sprayed with Pam). Spread the remainder of the salsa evenly over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese.

Cover with tented foil (again, sprayed with Pam), and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

*NOTE - Spray your food processor blade or cheese grater with Pam to help with clean-up.

Queso Blanco:

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Chihuahua cheese
4 oz can green chiles, drained
3-4 T jalepeno juice
3-4 jalepeno slices, diced

Over LOW heat, melt butter. Stir in flour, a little at a time, until fully blended, stirring constantly. Add salt and cook over LOW heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly pour milk into the flour mixture, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Stir mixture over LOW heat until thickened. Stir in chiles, jalepenos and juice.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese, a little at a time, until fully melted. If it gets too cool, reheat over LOW heat, stirring constantly.

Why did I keep repeating LOW? Because cheese must be melted slowly over low heat or you will wind up with a rubbery stringy mess. I know from experience.

Now the questions:

Was it easy? The enchiladas were very easy. Maddy helped me a lot, and she said she could probably make these. You don't need to turn on the stove at all.

The cheese dip - not hard, but time consuming. You must cook the butter/flour mixture for 10-15 minutes to remove the "flour" taste and texture. I only cooked it about 5-7 minutes. I should have kept cooking it but I was impatient and getting tired of stirring. Let this be a lesson to you - bulk up your arms or enlist a helper or two. Maddy stirred for about 30 seconds then collapsed from exhaustion. Rookie.

Did it taste good? The enchiladas were awesome! Craig said they were "scrumptious!"

The cheese dip wasn't bad. I kept adding jalepeno juice to spice it up. You could taste the flour but it wasn't bad, just not like what we are used to at the Mexican restaurant. Maddy ate it, but said it was just okay. I think if I'd cooked it longer it would have tasted better, or perhaps used cornstarch instead of flour.

Would I make it again? I will make the enchiladas again this way for Lent. I will also make them again and add shredded chicken or beef.

I would make the cheese dip again but I'd use pepper jack cheese instead, for some spice. And I would be patient and cook the base longer.

Flickr set here


A Buns Life said...

sounds yummy! I even have some Chihuahua cheese in the fridge!

RA said...

I love black beans, and these sound great and healthy!

Jeannette E. Spaghetti said...

Excellent recipe review.

I was first thinking, "I'll never try this" until you said you'd try it again and it was worth the effort.