Since I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Mexican food was pretty much a staple for us.
I remember going to a little place on upper State Street called Maya’s, and I loved their enchiladas! I also remember my mom ordering an extra dish of salsa and a spoon and commenting that instead of the freshly baked warm tortilla chip starter, she would rather just have her own “bowl of soup”. (Must be where I got my love of spicy food!)
I have been making Mexican food ever since I can remember, however I’m sure it’s not as authentic as my friend Trish’s. Her Mexican food is amazing. So much so, that she’s actually looking into purchasing a food truck so that all of us can enjoy her cooking. (Let me know if you know of anyone who’s selling one!) Hopefully, one of these days I will get her to write a guest post for this blog so you can experience her goodies. But until then, you’ve got my “white girl Mexican food” to put up with 😉
So today we’re going to make Gluten Free Zucchini and Bison Enchiladas, and even though I’ve used bison, feel free to use beef. You can even go with venison, elk, or kangaroo as well. Just use whatever you’ve got! One thing that makes my recipe distinctly different from a lot of other enchilada recipes is that I don’t fry the tortillas first. Why? Because for health reasons, I never use vegetable or canola oil. Plus, frying food puts a lot of unnecessary fat into your cooking. And, if we’re gonna have fat added in this recipe, it will be in the form of cheese! (can I get an Amen?!)
Another difference: mine are Gluten Free. Hooray and yay to that!
Also, using the right chicken broth is key. Instead of buying that “blue and white with the big ‘S’ brand chicken stock”, please look for Pacific organic free range Low Sodium Chicken Broth next time you’re shopping. I promise you’ll notice a difference in the taste of your food!
Here’s a visual rundown on what we’ll be making today (the recipe follows):
Gluten Free Zucchini Bison Enchiladas
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 cups organic, low sodium chicken broth
10 oz. tomato paste
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Cayenne, to taste
1 Tablespoon Garlic Olive Oil (or regular EVOO)
3 green onions, sliced (use bottom 2/3 of each stalk)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large zucchini, diced
1 pound ground bison (or beef, elk, venison, kangaroo, etc…)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
12 organic, gluten free corn tortillas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded jack cheese
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
salt to taste
Tabasco® to taste
Heat oil in a saucepan, and add arrowroot powder, stirring until smooth. Cook for about a minute, and add chili powder. Stir until combined well and pour in the chicken broth. Stir in tomato paste, oregano and cumin. Let cook till boiling, and then simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
Peel & halve the avocado. In a small bowl, mash avocado with fork. Stir in lemon juice, salt & Tabasco® to taste. Set aside.
While your sauce is cooking, make the filling. Heat oil in skillet on low/medium setting. Add onions and cook till they’re nearly translucent. Add garlic and zucchini and cook till the zucchini is about half-softened. Add meat and spices and cook till meat is browned. Turn off heat.
(it’s best if you work with a helper to heat the tortillas for you, since they have to be done individually. This will make assembly much quicker!)
Mix cheeses together and set aside.
Pour a small amount of olive oil onto a paper towel, and wipe the entire inside of a 13×9″ glass pan with it. Pour about ½ cup of the cooked sauce into the bottom of the pan, making sure to spread it out to the corners.
On a clean paper towel, heat one tortilla in the microwave for 15 seconds. Immediately take it out, placing the tortilla in one hand, and with the other hand, spooning a small amount of the ground beef mixture down the middle. Add cheese and a small drizzle of sauce. Quickly fold/roll into thirds, and place seems side down into the pan. Continue doing so until you have a tight row of 10. As you make the last two, place them across one long side (see photo #6). Cover the top of the pan with foil, making sure not to let it touch the cheese. (Otherwise, you will get a sticky mess!)
Bake in the oven approximately 30 minutes. Take off the foil, and put back in the oven for about five minutes to get a little bit of extra golden color on the cheese.
Let enchiladas rest for five minutes, and then serve along with a dollop of freshly made Avocado Crema (optional).So there you have it. Dinner is served, and it’s muy deliciouso!Still in the mood for more Mexican flavor? Try some of my other recipes! Just click on the photos below:
I hope you enjoy these enchiladas, and remember – the leftovers are super good too!
See ya next time!