I'm not yet ready to fly solo when making sauces with dried chile peppers, so I had my copy of Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen on the counter for this one. Yesterday I made my first sauce with guajillo chiles, and I was skeptical at first about what I was getting myself into. Before cooking, the sauce of guajillos, garlic, spices, and broth was unpleasantly, almost painfully hot, and I had that feeling that I'd just wasted a bunch of ingredients. I kept right along with the recipe though (and Bayless warns about the perils of raw chile heat), and after a half hour I had seared and simmered the sauce down to something impressive. It was thick, a beautiful brick red, and had fantastic flavor. Still hot, but in a great way. It mellowed while cooking in some kind of magical, alchemical way, and turned into something special.
I made an enchilada filling of tempeh, spinach, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. First I fried a crumbled 8 oz. package of tempeh in hot oil until it was browned and starting to get crunchy. I removed this from the pan, and sauteed the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, along with a little ground cumin, until everything was soft and fragrant. The raw spinach and browned tempeh went back in, and cooked just until the spinach was wilted down.
I took two approaches to making the enchiladas. The first photo above is a little trickier, and messier, than the second method. To make those enchiladas on top I quickly dipped corn tortillas in the guajillo sauce (completely cool by now), then fried them in hot canola oil for just a few seconds on each side. This sort of sears the sauce into the tortillas, but I found they were really fragile to work with...might have been the brand, which is a very soft tortilla. These were really tasty, and I loved how the sauce is fried into the tortilla. On the down side, it was kind of a mess to make these, and I got tired of torn tortillas.
The second method is much easier, and like enchiladas I've made before. Corn tortillas are stuffed with a little filling, rolled up, and packed into a baking pan on top of a little chile sauce. Extra chile sauce is poured over the top, and I baked them for just 20 minutes or so at 400 F. This was really good too, but not quite as exciting as the top version. I think I would go to the trouble of making those for company or a special occasion, while the simple oven version is good enough for every day enchiladas.
This guajillo sauce really is something though - worth a try if you're curious, and it's fun to watch the transformation of the sauce. The final product is something you can really be proud of, and it tastes really authentic.
Here's a couple more for the road. I picked up the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook last week - I love her site, and the cookbook has all of the quality and gorgeous photos as the blog. My humble little spelt flour pancakes look pretty ho-hum, but it's a great pancake recipe. I sort of fell in with the maple syrup, as you can see.
Finally, a stuffed green pepper. This wasn't especially exciting, but I think it's going somewhere. The idea was to mix cooked quinoa with the flavors of old school cream of mushroom soup. Man, I loved that stuff growing up. It's getting there, but my recipe isn't quite in shape yet.