First thing’s first! I need to clear something up for the sake of American/Australian food relations: pumpkin and winter squash are the same thing.
It’s called butternut squash in America, but butternut pumpkin in Australia. I often cook with Japanese pumpkin (like in this dish) which is also known as kabocha squash.
Since I live in Australia now, I call it pumpkin. And sometimes I say ‘herb’ with a hard ‘H’. Assimilating – check me out!
I like to roast a small pumpkin or half a large pumpkin at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge to throw into salads, soups and curries throughout the week. It’s best to tackle this whole vegetable in one go (you need a little muscle to hack into these things, so it’s best to chop it all up at once.) Once roasted and ready to go, throwing together meals in pinch is much easier.
Pumpkin is my superstar vegetable. With its rich texture and sweet flavor, it’s filling but relatively low in calories, loaded with fiber and vitamins, and something special happens when you mix it with melted cheese. The pumpkin kind of enhances the flavor of the cheese. Like, cheesy pumpkin tastes more cheesy that other cheese-coated vegetables. Does that make sense?
That’s why it’s easy to trick children into eating vegetables by mixing mashed butternut pumpkin in with mac and cheese. (p.s. I’m going to be such a stealth/good mom.)
These enchiladas are the cheese-covered culmination of a few easy steps. You can prepare most of the elements ahead of time (the sauce, the pumpkin and the caramelized onion) or use what you happen to have in the fridge. If you have sweet potato, go ahead and use that in the place of the pumpkin. Or replace the black beans with lentils or white beans.
I like to make my own enchilada sauce – it’s easy and I usually have the ingredients on-hand. But you can replace it with a salsa that you like or a pre-made enchilada sauce. Go nuts.
adapted from Emeril Lagasse
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute.
Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Roasted Squash or Pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups squash or pumpkin (I used Japanese pumpkin), cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm chunks
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 220 C/425 F.
Coat pumpkin in olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until soft and slightly golden.
More hints for roasting pumpkin:
You can roast in larger chunks if it’s too much of a hassle to cut, roasting time will just be longer.
I always roast with the skin on. Once the skin is cooked it’s soft and easy to remove, but not at all unpleasant to eat. I usually just eat it.
- 1 large red onion, cut into thin half-moon shapes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add a tablespoon or two of water and cover the pan. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the pan is dry.
Cook until onions are deeply brown/purple (if using red onion) and jammy. Set aside or store in the fridge for up to 3 days (or freeze for up to two months.)
Pumpkin, Black Bean and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas
(Makes 8 enchiladas)
- Olive oil or baking spray, for greasing
- 8 tortillas (I used small ones)
- 2 cups enchilada sauce, divided.
- 1 can (1 1/2 cups) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups roasted pumpkin
- 1/2 cup caramelized onions
- 2-3 tablespoons crumbled queso blanco or feta cheese
- 1/3 cup finely grated cheddar cheese.
Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F.
Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce.
Assemble the tortillas with pumpkin, black beans, onion and queso blanco/feta.
Roll the tortillas and place in the baking dish seam side down.
Repeat 7 more times, packing the rolled tortillas tightly together in the baking dish.
Cover with the remaining sauce.
Sprinkle with cheddar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and a little golden in spots.
Serve with corn salsa, fresh cilantro and a little dollop of sour cream.