We entertained friends for dinner last night and drew upon our years in Tucson for a menu loaded with some of our favorite Mexican dishes. Good thing too because not only did we celebrate the fabulous flavors from our sunny neighbors south of the border but we had other reasons to toast our collective good fortunes.
Now you know my theory on having a stress free dinner party is to go with what you know as far as the menu goes. It wasn't always that way in JBug's Kitchen as I was known to maximize stress by trying out a ton of new recipes on unsuspecting guests and thereby making the whole event a total nail biter in the "success" department ; however, I'm getting a lot smarter in my old age..at least I think I am.
The menu consisted of Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas - a take on the coulda' been meatless ones we made way back in 2011. This time they really were meatless. As a first course, I figured their sweet spicy heat would set the tastebuds up just fine for the main event; afterall, it's kinda' hard to go wrong with roasted sweet potatoes and black beans in combination with the subtle heat from green chile. All wrapped up in a corn tortilla and blanketed in red chile sauce, they're a super way to whet your appetite.
Second course was Pork Chile Verde, a flavor packed pork stew gussied up with Anaheim peppers, onions, green bell pepper, garlic and beer.
Served with a platter of "withs" including shredded cabbage, sweet onions, tomatoes, assorted salsas and a dollop of sour cream, it's a party in a bowl and perfect food for entertaining because once the pot's in the oven, the cook can relax.
For dessert, we enjoyed a repeat of the Peach and Raspberry Pie from a few weeks ago accompanied by an unbelievable roasted strawberry sherbet brought to the party by Sharron and Jim. With an intense berry flavor and rich creamy mouth feel, I can't wait to make a batch of it from some of the Oregon strawberries hiding in our freezer.
Speaking of Sharron and Jim, they're an example of the wonderful things that can happen when you least expect it. They were part of a group of friends in highschool and went their separate ways, both raising families and enjoying successful careers, one in the east and one west. They've recently reconnected and I think we can just let the pictures speak for themselves, don't you? Talk about a happy couple!
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas (from JBug's Kitchen Antics adapted from Karina’s Kitchen, Recipes from a Gluten free Goddess)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used spicy)
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
2 cups roasted diced sweet potato
1/2 cup chopped green chiles
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 -1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
12 small corn tortillas
3 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 cups prepared red chile sauce (I used Herdez Roasted Pasilla Chile Mexican Cooking Sauce)
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
In a large sauté pan heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and sauté until softened. Add cumin, chili powder and cook for additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove onion mixture to a bowl and add sweet potatoes, chiles, cilantro and black beans. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required.
Place oil in a sauté pan and heat over medium low heat. Warm tortillas briefly until pliable. Lay tortillas flat on work surface and place approximately half a cup of filling along one edge. Top with some of the grated cheese. Roll tortilla into a cylinder and place seam side down into prepared casserole dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Casserole may be refrigerated at this point to be reheated later. Pour chile sauce over filled tortillas and top with remaining grated cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until enchiladas are hot and sauce is bubbling. Serve with sour cream and additional salsa if desired. – Serves 4 to 6.
Pork Chile Verde a favorite from JBug’s Kitchen Antics
2 pounds pork butt, shoulder or boneless country style ribs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dredging
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Anaheim chiles, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1 cup salsa verde
1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned & chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 bottle (12 oz) beer (I use Modelo)
½ to 1 teaspoon honey
Cut pork in 1-1/2 inch cubes. Season well with salt & pepper. Dredge in flour and brown in hot dutch oven. Do not crowd the pan. Remove from pan. Add onions and green pepper and sauté until onion is soft. Add Anaheim chiles and garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, coriander and bay leaf. Cook 2 more minutes. Add meat back to pan, then add salsa verde, cilantro, chicken stock and beer.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover, and simmer for additional 30 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and meat is very tender. Adjust seasonings, and add honey to mellow out the heat.
Two year's ago - Chicken in Wine Sauce