Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten Posts of Pumpkin: (6) Butternut Squash and Pinto Bean Enchiladas with Mole Sauce

This post has been hard to assemble because there are many parts, the pictures do not do the recipe justice, and, um, I can't seem to find my notes. I'll let you decide what to do with that little disclaimer.

But please note: these are as good and unique as they sound.

The best part is the mole sauce. If you aren't in a mood to make your own refried beans or peel and dice a butternut squash or grate an obscene amount of cheese, that's fine. But make the mole sauce. It's totally easy and it's the best mole sauce I've ever had and, while it involves a lot of ingredients, most of them are available at health food stores or co-ops or even some regular grocery stores in bulk and BULK IS CHEAP. Especially spices. The best part of my grocery shopping experience is when I pay 14 cents for fresh nutmeg. It's even more edifying when I happen to have caught a glimpse of the jars of nutmeg for sale three aisles down, which cost like $4+. Preposterous.

spice blend

Okay. So first I'll give you the mole recipe, adapted (to be made nut-free and slightly simplified, i.e. I don't peel the chiles or tomatoes and I just blend everything together) from a David Lebovitz blog post, and after that I'll elaborate on the enchiladas. But seriously, if you don't feel like assembling enchiladas, just use the mole sauce with chips or poured over some poached chicken breasts or drizzled on rice and beans or WHATEVER. Just make it and eat it. It's spectacular.


Yum. I miss it.

Chocolate Mole Sauce
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Yield: about 2-3 cups

5 dried ancho chiles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, seeds squeezed out
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup diced prunes (or raisins)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cloves, oregano or epazote, cumin, coriander, allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup warm water (or more, as needed, ideally reserved from soaking the ancho chiles)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

Cover chiles with water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Turn off heat, submerge the chiles by setting a bowl on top of them, and let soak for 30 minutes or so.

Have all your spices and herbs ready to go in a small prep bowl.

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add spices and herbs and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the ancho chiles and reserve the cooking water. Remove the seeds and stems from the chiles.

Using a food processor, or if you are lucky enough to have one, your Vita-Mix or another comparably awesome blender, purée the ancho chiles with the cooked onion-garlic-spice mixture, coconut, tomatoes, prunes (or raisins), sesame seeds, salt, and pepper, adding cooking water 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture is smooth. It might take a couple minutes and about 1 1/2 cups of water, but mine came together beautifully, and rather easily. Taste the mixture and add more salt or pepper as desired. Stir in the melted chocolate and add a little more water to obtain a smooth, saucy consistency. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

And now for the enchiladas...

super cheesy enchiladas

This makes kind of a weird quantity, because I was making it all up as I went along. I believe it would make one 15X9" pan's worth of either properly rolled enchiladas or enchiladas layered, casserole-style. But what I ended up with was a 9X9" pan of rolled enchiladas, and a 13X9" pan of "enchilada casserole".

roasted butternut squash
enchiladas in progress

Butternut Squash and Pinto Bean Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
From Yours Truly
Yield: about 8 servings (see above)

1 butternut squash or other winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (you'll want about 1.5 lbs flesh)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
12-16 small corn tortillas
2-3 cups Mexican Whole Beans or Refried Beans or some sort of canned equivalent (about two 15-oz cans)
1 recipe mole sauce
3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together chili powder, cumin and salt. Spread butternut squash onto baking sheet or roasting pan and toss with spice mixture and olive oil. Roast until starting to brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Once squash is cooked and cool enough to handle, assemble your enchiladas.

To make layered enchiladas (the easy thing to do), layer 4-6 tortillas in glass baking dish, followed by half the beans, half the squash, and a third of the cheese. Repeat layers again, starting with tortillas and ending with cheese. Add one more layer of tortillas, pour mole sauce evenly on top of tortillas, and finish with a sprinkling of the final third of cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until everything is bubbling a bit and the cheese is starting to brown.

To make rolled enchiladas, first warm the tortillas in the microwave or on the stove so that they can be rolled without breaking. Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup beans and 1/4 cup squash, roll the tortilla tightly and place in pan, so that they are all side by side and there is very little space anywhere in the pan at the end. Pour the mole sauce evenly on top, followed by the cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until everything is bubbling a bit and the cheese is starting to brown.



  1. Yummm..... I'm so into this too!

  2. I made the mole over the weekend for company. It was great and easy to make. I served over chicken that I slow cooked in my dutch oven, along with beans, cheese and corn tortillas. Yummy!