Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shrimp Enchiladas with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips

Took a great fieldtrip today to Rancho Santa Fe to go to Chino Farms. Never heard of Chino Farms until we moved down here, but it is pretty well-known in California. It is a decent sized fruit and vegetable stand a little off the beaten path. They are known to supply produce to Spago and many other restaurants in LA along with such heavyweights as Alice Waters for Chez Panisse up in Berkeley. Needless to say, it was a fantastic experience that we hope to turn into a weekly ritual. We picked up some purple skinned Japanese sweet potatoes. They are white on the inside and cook up nice and sweet and super moist. We also grabbed some cilantro, green onions and red chile peppers.

This recipe is very easy, just a little time consuming. It is definitely worth the time because the flavors are great. The sweet potatoes almost taste like mashed plantains, which give the enchiladas a great sweet, salty, smokey, spicy taste. You could easily make this dish vegetarian friendly by using more veggies (I've mixed it up with sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beets and carrots) and cutting out the shrimp, or I've even subbed the shrimp with shredded chicken. This recipe is a keeper.

Shrimp Enchiladas with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips
*Recipe courtesy of

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (I was lazy and just used a few dashes of purchased ground cumin.)
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 small), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, halved, seeded
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (If you don't love cilantro, you can use 1 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (about 6)
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles (preferably fire-roasted), drained
  • 2 cups purchased salsa verde or mild tomatillo salsa
  • 1/2 cup crema mexicana, crème fraîche, or sour cream, divided (I used low fat sour cream mixed with a little milk to thin it.)
  • 8 ounces cooked peeled deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 12 5 1/2- to 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas (Used flour tortillas because we like them better.)
  • 8 ounces crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese (about 2 cups) (Try to find queso fresco. It is much better with this dish.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Cool. Transfer to spice mill; process until finely ground. (I was lazy and skipped this step and just used a few dashes of ground cumin.) Combine parsnips, sweet potatoes, and red onion in large bowl. Add ground cumin, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, chili powder, oregano, and 1 teaspoon coarse salt; toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. (Remember I used white Japanese sweet potatoes so all my vegetables are white.)

 Roast vegetables until soft and browned in spots, turning occasionally, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375°F. With machine running, add garlic and jalapeño through feed tube of processor and process until finely chopped. Add cilantro, green onions, and drained green chiles. Using on/off turns, process until coarse puree forms. Add salsa; process to blend. Transfer salsa mixture to large deep skillet. Add 1/4 cup crema and stir over medium-low heat just until warm (do not allow to boil). Remove from heat. Season salsa mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Measure 1 cup roasted vegetables; set aside. Transfer remaining vegetables to processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to incorporate evenly. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, cook until just softened, about 15 seconds per side (do not allow to brown). (I just blistered the tortillas in the skillet with no oil. Just a few seconds per side.) Transfer tortillas to paper towels to drain.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture over bottom of 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Place 1 tortilla on work surface; sprinkle generous 2 teaspoons crumbled cheese down center. Top with generous 1/4 cup roasted vegetable filling, arranging down center atop cheese. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese, and filling. Scatter reserved 1 cup roasted vegetables over enchiladas. Spoon remaining salsa mixture over. Sprinkle with any remaining cheese; drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup crema (whisking if necessary to loosen enough to drizzle). Bake enchiladas until heated through, about 20 minutes. (I served mine with crispy tortilla chips to add a little crunch.)

We completed our meal with a tempranillo. Tempranillo is a lighter Spanish varietal that has a little bit of spice. This was great with the enchiladas, but an earthy pinot noir or creamy chardonnay would also be great with it.