Potato and Kale Enchiladas

>> Sunday, January 19, 2014

Potato-Kale enchilada filling

My friend Rebecca Stahr is a talented artist in pen and ink, pencil, photography, watercolor, encaustic, and oils. She has an attic studio to die for: filled with thousands of colors and artworks and brushes, and quirky art inspiration like a deer's skull wearing a Mardi Gras hat, mounds of rusty found objects and milkweed pods, and blowtorches and fire extinguishers for flaming encaustic wax resin.

This fall and winter she's been focusing on developing her art business (Rebecca J. Stahr, artist), gallery shows at the College of Lake County and Highland Park's Art Center, and exploring the nature of art and creation in her sketchbook blog

She's also working to develop an "Artists' Tribe", a group of artists who mentor and encourage each other in the sometimes lonely and insecure process of developing art that is authentic to their personal vision.


That's a lot to accomplish all at once, especially in the art world where the competition is so fierce! So she asked me, food lover and cooking fanatic, to prepare some meals for her family so they don't starve and eat healthy while she and her husband both manage high-pressure vocations.

Oh, there's a catch, though - a big challenge for me. Her family is vegan and gluten free due to multiple food allergies, and there's a lot they can't eat. As for me, the more meat the better, and I do love my breads and pastas and all the other gluten-laden foods that are probably aggravating my rhuematoid arthritis. But how could I pass up a chance to learn entirely new ways of cooking? The creative side of my mind was spinning with the excitement of experimenting with food in a way that's completely new to me.

Here, then, is one of the first meals I made for her. The potato and kale make a lovely and filling enchilada, and the sauce punches up the flavor so I don't miss a bit of the meat I usually put in the rolls. I admit, though, that the batch I made for my dinner had a sprinkle of cheese on top. Just a little. But if you're vegan and don't like vegan cheese, you probably won't even crave that.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas

This recipe was inspired by the cookbook Veganomicon.


For the Sauce:

2 tbsp oil
2/3 cup onion, diced
2/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano 
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt

For the Filling:

1 lb. red-skinned potatoes
1/2 pound kale, washed, trimmed, and chopped
3 tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup toasted pepitas, chopped coarsely
2 tsp salt, or to taste

12-14 corn tortillas

Chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese (optional)


In a large saucepan, saute the pepper and onion in oil until tender. Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree the sauce. Bring to a boil in the pan, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and boil them until nearly tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.In a large skillet, heat the oil, then saute the garlic for 1 minute on medium heat. Add the kale and saute 5 minutes or until wilted, stirring constantly. Stir in the potatoes, pepitas, lime juice, and salt.  Cover and cook 3 minutes. Mash the potatoes slightly with the back of a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x12 casserole pan, then spread out 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan. On a flat griddle or frying pan, heat the corn tortillas until soft and pliable.

Pour half of the enchilada sauce onto a plate, and lay a tortilla on the plate. Spoon 1/3 cup of potato mixture onto the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place, seam side down, in the casserole pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, then drizzle with the remaining sauce.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the centers are cooked and the casserole is heated through. Top with tomato and lettuce before serving.

Serves 4-6.


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