Mexican food is glorious: this is a simple fact. And it’s one of the more veggie-friendly cuisines too, chockful of rice, beans and vegetables, so dishes can easily be adapted. I always think of it as celebratory food. There’s that great communal spirit when you sit down to fajitas together, assembling them together and making a great mess (unless that’s just me…), and the fact that Mexican food marries so well with with ice-cold margheritas – it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you’re eating Mexican.
My boyfriend is always responsible for cooking on Saturday evenings, and he has served up some delicious enchilladas for me before, which I think is a stroke of genius. I’m generally completely mentally and physically exhausted after a long day (and indeed week) at school, so I desperately need sustenance but not something that will comfort me to the extent that I’m immediately ready for pyjamas and bed. A plate of Mexican food is just what I need to revive me so I can muster the energy and enthusiasm for a Saturday night out. He found his recipe on BBC GoodFood, but I’ve adapted it somewhat with the addition of roasted pumpkin and refried beans, which make it a bit more of a substantial dish. Perfect for recharging the batteries and getting you in the mood for some weekend fun!
1 butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 cans chopped tomatoes
400g tin refried beans
6 small wholemeal tortillas
200g natural yoghurt
50g grated cheddar
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put 1 tablespoon oil in a roasting dish and put in the oven to heat up. After a few minutes, carefully tip in the squash – be careful,it will spit. Season well and roast for 30 minutes, until soft. The cubes can be a bit too oily at the end – I removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on some kitchen roll to absorb a bit of the grease, then transferred them to a clean pot for the next stage.
2. Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes.
3. Add the chilli powder, cumin and coriander and cook for another minute.
4. Pour in the tomatoes and refried beans and bring to the boil. It takes a bit of time to break down the clumps of beans, so keep stirring until the sauce becomes smoother. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and season well.
5. Heat grill to high. Take half of the tomato sauce and add it to the roasted pumpkin, mixing well to combine everything (there’s no need to do this in a pan, a bowl is fine – this was just all I had to hand).
6. Spread a spoonful of the other half of tomato sauce over the bottom of a large ovenproof dish.
7. Lay each tortilla on a board, fill with a few tablepsoons of the pumpkin mixture, fold up and seal. Place them in the ovenproof dish. In a (rather prolonged) moment of madness, I was thinking of burritos while I worked and ended up folding the tortillas like burittos rather than enchilladas. Foolish, but it had no effect on the taste, so just don’t follow the photographic evidence of my folly.
8. Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top – I had a few chunks of pumpking leftover, which I added to the top too rather than waste.
9. Mix the yoghurt and grated cheese together with some seasoning, and pour over the top of the tomato sauce.
10. Grill for 10-20 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Slice up and serve.