The recipe here is based on a dish created by Josef Centeno’s great-grandmother, who raised 12 kids. Because meat was expensive, she often made enchiladas using only vegetables, like carrots and potatoes. For his enchiladas, Centeno makes a sofrito, cooking carrots low and slow in olive oil with garlic and tomatoes.
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1 1/4 pounds carrots, coarsely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
9 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 2 cups)
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
Canola oil, for warming
12 corn tortillas
Smoky Tomatillo Salsa
Mexican crema or sour cream, for drizzling
How to Make It
Step 1 make the carrot sofrito
Preheat the oven to 225°. In a food processor, pulse the carrots, onion and garlic until very finely chopped. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until nearly smooth.
Step 2 make the carrot sofrito
In a medium, deep ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the carrot mixture and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly and nearly dry, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours until the carrot sofrito is very soft. Season with salt, cover and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Step 3 assemble the enchiladas
In a medium bowl, toss the crumbled queso fresco with the cilantro and red onion.
Step 4 assemble the enchiladas
In a small skillet, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil over moderately low heat. Add 1 tortilla to the skillet and cook until just pliable, about 20 seconds. Using tongs, transfer the tortilla to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Step 5 assemble the enchiladas
Working quickly, roll a scant 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture in each tortilla and arrange them on a large platter, seam side down. Spoon the hot sofrito over the enchiladas and scatter the remaining cheese mixture on top; drizzle some of the Smoky Tomatillo Salsa and crema over them and serve, passing additional salsa and crema at the table.
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