for the filling:
- 2 pounds zucchini, cut into pieces about 1″ long and ¼” thick
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt, to taste
- safflower oil, for frying
for the sauce:
- 2 cups water
- 1 ancho chile
- 1 guajillo chile
- 1 chipotle chile
- 1 12-ounce can tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small handful cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 5 peppercorns
- ½ – 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
- ½ – 1 teaspoon cider or pineapple vinegar (optional)
- 2 teaspoons safflower oil
for the enchiladas:
- 12 corn tortillas
- 8 ounces cheese such as cheddar, Monterey, or Chihuahua, grated
- a few lettuce leaves
- 1 avocado, diced
- sour cream
In a small saucepan, heat 2 cups water, ancho, guajillo, and chipotle over high heat until boiling. Cover and bring the pot down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid from pot and let chiles cool.
In a mortar and pestle, combine chiles, garlic, cilantro sprigs, salt, and peppercorns. Grind everything down into a gritty chile paste, thinning the mixture with the water the chiles were softened in if necessary.
Heat safflower oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Once the oil is warm, add the chile paste and remaining water from the chile soaking. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Add tomato sauce, coriander, oregano and continue cooking. Once the sauce is beginning to bubble, reduce heat to low and cover. At this point, taste the sauce and add brown sugar if the sauce still needs sweetness and vinegar if the sauce could be tangier. Continue cooking for twenty more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of oil to an iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is warm, add the pumpkin seeds. Reduce heat to low and cook seeds, stirring frequently, until they are brown (some might start popping). Remove seeds from pan and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and turn the heat back to medium high. Add zucchini to the skillet and fry, stirring frequently, until the zucchini begins to char. You might need to add a little more oil, but try not to soak the zucchini. Once most of the zucchini has started to brown, reduce heat to medium and toss in the cooked pumpkin seeds, cumin, chile powder, and paprika. Cook for 3 additional minutes, stirring frequently. Remove skillet from heat and add salt to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To assemble the enchiladas, spread a couple of spoonfuls of enchilada sauce over the bottom of a lightly oiled 9″ by 13″ casserole dish. Roll a little bit of filling and some cheese in a corn tortilla and press seam-side down into the dish. Aim to use half the cheese and all of the zucchini for the filling. If the enchiladas unroll in the pan, you can try pressing them down on the sides. If the tortillas rip, it’s fine – this dish tends to become a goeey mess in the end anyway. If you have any leftover filling after making all the enchiladas, try stuffing it in between the enchiladas as best you can. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, making sure you coat the tops of all the tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the enchiladas.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly bubbling and all of the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve enchiladas with lettuce leaves, avocado slices, and sour cream.