Hibiscus Flower Enchiladas


Reconstituted hibiscus flowers

Inspired by chef Ricardo Munoz Zurita’s recipe from Mexico City’s Azul Condesa.

Serves 6

Ingredients
FILLING
1c dried hibiscus flowers (available at Latin markets in the spice/chilies section)
2T olive oil
1c sherry or white wine
1 onion, sliced thin
2 carrots, grated
1/2c (or more) jicama, grated
8oz crimini mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 small beet, grated (yellow beets preferable, but red works too)
1 small summer squash or zucchini, grated
1t dried oregano or 1T fresh chopped oregano
1/2t dried thyme or 1 1/2t fresh thyme leaves
salt/pepper

SAUCE
3 14oz cans chipotle style tomatoes (fresh tomatoes and a chipotle in adobo usually work better, but tomatoes are out of season here now so canned tomatoes actually have more taste…if you can’t find chipotle style tomatoes, use regular diced or fire roasted tomatoes and add an extra chipotle pepper)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 14oz can enchilada sauce
2 bay leaves
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (available canned in most grocery stores)

ASSEMBLY
15-ish corn tortillas
1c cotija or feta cheese
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1c sour cream or creme fraiche
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
handful yellow pear tomatoes, when in season…otherwise, skip it

Bring hibiscus flowers and 2-3 cups water to a slow boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes and then let sit in the liquid until you’re ready to use them.  The softer they are, the more likely the kids will be to eat them.

Saute onion in olive oil until limp.  Add sherry periodically to keep your pan from becoming a baked on mess of post-dinner-cleanup-nightmare.  Add all remaining filling ingredients and saute until vegetables begin to soften.  Add hibiscus flowers and any remaining sherry and saute another 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, keep warm.

While veggies are cooking, place all sauce ingredients into a heavy saucepan and heat slowly.  Now you have a choice — you may either remove the bay leaves and use an immersion blender (or food processor, if you’re into making a mess) to create a smooth sauce; or, you may leave the sauce as it is, with chunks of tomatoes and garlic intact.  When I cook this for just myself and my husband, I go to a lot more trouble than when I cook this for the kids (slightly different ingredients, nothing from a can, more of a mole-style sauce…that sort of thing).  The kids don’t mind the tomato chunks, so I don’t mess up the immersion blender.  However, if your kids are weird about textures, the original sauce was served smooth…go ahead and blend it.  You can even add a bit of cream if a smoother, heavier sauce is desired.

ASSEMBLY:

I don’t like to fry my tortillas because a) I don’t like to fry anything, b) it makes a mess that my husband doesn’t really enjoy cleaning up, and c) we don’t need to eat/use/buy all that oil anyway.  Instead, throw them into the microwave with a cup of water for a minute or so to let them soften.  Works great everytime.

I let the kids build their own enchiladas too, since this particular recipe does not involve baking them again once they’re filled!  Kids can take a warmed tortilla, fill it with about 1/3c filling, roll it up, add sauce, and sprinkle on their own toppings (the cabbage, sour cream/creme fraiche, cilantro, cotija/feta cheese).  This way, my one mushroom hater can pick out the shrooms and this dish can stay on the 100 Percent List…

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