Turkey enchiladas remain faithful to flavor, but not fat, of Southwestern fare

March 02, 1994|By Susanne A. Davis | Susanne A. Davis,Eating Well Magazine

The ever-increasing popularity of Tex-Mex food has certainly had an impact on the supermarket produce case. Jalapenos, jicamas and tomatillos nestle next to broccoli and carrots; tortillas are everywhere. But if finding ingredients for Southwestern dishes is no longer difficult, the problem of reducing the typically high amounts of fat remains.

Our enlightened version of enchiladas here features a filling of lean ground turkey and pinto beans moistened with sauteed onions, peppers and tomatillos -- the cheese and sour cream are reserved for the top. Before the enchiladas are rolled, corn tortillas are softened by passing them briefly over the heat of a stove top burner. This also imparts a rich, toasted flavor to the corn, complementing the robust filling inside.

The food processor helps make short work of preparing this meal. First whirl frozen fruit, sugar and a splash of tequila in the processor bowl, then scoop the mixture into margarita glasses and freeze. Rinse the bowl and change the blade to a grating disk to prepare the slaw. Use the processor once again to chop and blend the ingredients for the tomatillo salsa. This menu contains 754 calories, with 23 percent of calories coming from fat. You can substitute tomatoes for tomatillos, but they don't have the same tangy bite.

Turkey and bean enchiladas

Serves 4

1/2 pound ground turkey

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, preferably canola oil

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup defatted reduced-sodium chicken stock

1/2 pound fresh tomatillos (about 9), papery husks removed, finely chopped, or one 18-ounce can, drained and finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

8 corn tortillas

1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup prepared tomato salsa (optional)

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

tomatillo salsa (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-by-11-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add turkey and cook, stirring to break up meat, until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drain in a colander and set aside. Wipe skillet with paper towels.

Add oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and green peppers; saute until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon; saute for 2 to 3 minutes more. Mash beans coarsely and add to the skillet, along with chicken stock, tomatillos and the reserved turkey. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble enchiladas, soften a tortilla by heating it directly on a stove-top burner for about 30 seconds, turning frequently.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of the turkey-and-bean filling down the center of the softened tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side-down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat these steps with the remaining tortillas.

Spoon the tomatillo salsa over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with tomato salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Tomatillo salsa

1/2 pound fresh tomatillos (about 9), papery husks removed, coarsely chopped, or one 18-ounce can, drained and coarsely chopped

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and quartered

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine tomatillos, onions, garlic and jalapenos. Using an on/off motion, pulse until smooth. Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Jicama is a large, bland tuber with a crisp texture similar to water chestnuts.

Jicama slaw

Makes about 4 cups; serves 4

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1/4 cup apple cider

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups grated jicama

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup grated Granny Smith apples

Heat a dry, heavy skillet, over medium heat. Add garlic cloves, and roast, turning occasionally with tongs, until blackened in spots and soft, about 10 minutes. Peel, removing tough ends.

In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted garlic, apple cider, oil, vinegar and mustard. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. In a salad bowl, combine jicama, carrots and apples. Add dressing; toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Strawberry-margarita ice

Makes about 2 cups; serves 4

12 ounces frozen whole strawberries

1/2 cup superfine (instant-dissolving) sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons tequila

1 tablespoon triple sec liqueur

In a food processor, combine frozen strawberries and sugar. Using an on/off motion, process until coarsely chopped. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, tequila and triple sec. With machine running, gradually pour mixture through feed tube. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides once or twice. Scoop mixture into chilled individual serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap and freeze 15 to 30 minutes to firm before serving.

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