For the longest time, I saw chili powder as that, well, spice for chili. I really had no other use for it, and the poor spice bottle languished on the spice rack for a long loooooong time.
Then came Enchiladas! The subtle smokiness and hint of heat in the sauce was so enticing and delicious, that I started making everything into enchiladas, then just making the sauce just to have on top of anything that could do with a savory flavor boost. Vegetables, rice, chicken, eggs, oatmeal…
I may have taken it too far with the oatmeal. But it was *really* good oatmeal.
Enchilada sauce is very quick and easy to make; you can prepare it in advance or develop it as you cook the filling. My current favorite filling is mushrooms. With a texture and earthy flavor that becomes meaty after cooking, saucy enchilada mushrooms are great as part of a meatless meal. They’re equally yummy served over rice, cauliflower ‘couscous,’* pasta or Zoodles.*
Or, of course, wrapped up in your tortillas of choice, topped with more sauce along with melty cheese, and baked until bubbly and warm. 😊
Saucy Enchilada Mushrooms
Copyright 2015 Lauren Bradford (aka The Food Puzzler)
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
~ 16 oz. sliced white or baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned*
~ 2 cups cooked rice, cauliflower ‘couscous,’ pasta or Zoodles
~ 1/2 cup water, possibly more if needed
~ 4 heaping teaspoons chili powder
~ 1 teaspoon onion powder
~ 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
~ 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric, salt, and cumin
~ 3 tablespoons of plain, spicy, garlic, or red pepper hummus
1. Place your cleaned, sliced mushrooms in a frying pan with 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. If you’re serving this dish with pasta or rice, start getting the appropriate amount of water boiling in a pot as instructed by the manufacturer.
2. Add in the spices and salt, mixing completely. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. The mushrooms will start releasing their liquid, so the mixture will appear watery but that’s OK, this dish needs to simmer for a little while and the excess liquid will concentrate.
3. Then, add in 3 tablespoons of plain, spicy, garlic, or red pepper-flavored hummus and mix completely. This adds rich creaminess and texture. Continue cooking until the mixture concentrates to your desired thickness, about 10~15 minutes.
4. Prepare your base for the mushrooms as the mixture simmers:
~ For spiralized zucchini /summer squash or cauliflower: in a microwave-safe bowl covered with a moist paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes.
~ For rice or pasta, prepare now based on manufacturer’s instructions.
~ Pictured above is an enchilada bowl, including cauliflower couscous, jasmine rice, the mushrooms with a little grated cheddar, and salad loaded with carrots and tri-color peppers. Traditional style enchilada assembly warrants its own post and pictures, and is coming soon.
~ Mushrooms spoil quickly after being washed, so they are packaged having been brushed off, and still should be cleaned before cooking. There’s a couple of ways to do this, the quickest is to rinse them thoroughly in a colander just before cooking. The way I was taught in Culinary school, and the method I still use for whole mushrooms, is to wipe them all completely with a damp towel.
~ If you haven’t tried spiralized vegetables before, it’s pretty neat! The basic spiralizer (like the one I have, the Vegetti) works sorta like a pencil sharpener. You take a vegetable like zucchini, trim off the end and place it into one of the two sides to get either linguine- or fettuccini-sized noodles by twisting the vegetable. The handheld Vegetti I have works best with zucchini, summer squash and cucumber.
~ When I pulse cauliflower pieces in my food processor (no more than a cupful at a time for best results) the pieces look more like couscous to me, than rice. Maybe I need to work on the process, but it still tastes good.
~ I like the texture and flavor of this dish when I use only water to cook the mushrooms, and the spices mix well in the water, but that doesn’t mean olive oil couldn’t be used if you prefer it. In that case:
1. Use a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) olive oil, place in the cleaned mushrooms and sauté on medium-high heat. You’ll get a nice crusting on the mushrooms before they start to release liquid.
2. To prevent the oil from coming out of the pan in reaction to the water needed to combine the spices, take the pan off of the heat, warm the water and then add to the pan with the spices. Combine and then bring to a boil before reducing to simmer.