Avocado Season + RECIPE: Butternut Squash Enchilada Stack

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Perhaps my favorite part of dining in Puerto Rico was learning that even avocados have a season and, like everything in life, they taste so much better in season. The avocados in Puerto Rico were smooth and creamy. Perfectly ripe with a velvety texture and somehow, never a brown spot in sight. I was sure to have avocado in, on or with every meal we ate.

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Being a local food enthusiast and local grower of food, I always feel a pang of guilt when consuming avocados in Wisconsin. Even though they make everything taste better, I know it is impossible for them to be grown here. (Don’t worry. We’re working on it.) Does it count as eating local if I’m topping my dishes with something “Made in Mexico”? Let’s not get too philosophical here. Let’s just say, my local foodie heart rejoiced at the chance to overeat avocados without guilt.

When we returned from vacation, I headed straight to my favorite local co-op to restock our fridge. Avocados were on sale! I bought several, took them home and they tasted just as glorious as the avocados from vacation. They were every bit as perfect and velvet-textured as the avocados I’d had in Puerto Rico. I made some assumptions and basicly decided that avocados must be in season everywhere right now. No guilt necessary.

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Needless to say, avocado consumption has been extraordinarily high in our household for the past couple weeks. This definitely means a lot of breakfast sandwiches because who are we kidding. Ciabatta + egg + bacon + mayo + Cholula + avocado = the best way ever to start a day.

It also means a lot of Mexican food. Give me any combination of corn tortillas, salsa and cheese and I am a happy, happy girl. Especially if I can throw an avocado on top.

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This butternut squash enchilada stack is great for a bazillion reasons, one of which being that it is definitely enhanced by the addition of avocado. Extremely simple to make, this dish only takes about 20 minutes of active prep time and then it’s into the oven it goes for 90 minutes which is just the amount of time you need for a run with the pups or a couple loads of laundry or a nap (without fear of things burning).

It mainly uses items you have on hand (or if you are a vegetable farmer in winter, things you have stored in your pantry). It makes great leftovers. And, toppings are not essential, but only add to the beauty. My kind of meal.

TGIF! Have a very lazy weekend.

Lots of love,
Leek

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Butternut Squash Enchilada Stack
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine
I dreamed of whipping up my own salsa verde, but with no tomatillos in sight, I settled on a cheap mild salsa verde I found while at Target and spruced it up with a ton of jalapenos, garlic, cilantro and salt. 

Makes 6-8 servings
Takes 2 hours, 10 minutes

4 large garlic cloves
2 small (or 1 large) seeded jalapenos
1/3 bunch cilantro
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
16 ounces (or 2 cups) processed mild salsa verde
2 pound butternut squash
16 small corn tortillas
15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups melty white cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
1 cup spicy melty cheese (I used Chipotle Cheddar)

Toppers, all optional
Avocado, sliced
Sour cream
Pickled jalapenos
Red onion, diced
Cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add salsa verde and process until well combined, scarping down the sides once or twice with a spatula. Set aside.
Prepare butternut squash by peeling and then cutting into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Have all your ingredients nearby and begin layering the enchilada stack! In a 9×13-inch casserole dish, pour a quarter of the salsa verde mixture. On top of the salsa, layer 6 tortillas so they cover the bottom of the pan. Top with another a quarter of the salsa followed by a third of the butternut squash, a third of the beans and 1 cup mixed cheese. Continue the layering two additional times, reserving the last cup of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.
Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler to low. Remove the foil and cover the dish with the remaining cheese. Broil 8 inches from the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
Serve warm with any (or all of) the toppings!

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