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Squash Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

People will be calling for seconds long before anybody guesses what's so mystifyingly good about these corn tortilla rollups with cheese and tangy tomatillo sauce. Nice with broiled salmon.

1 21/2-pound butternut squash, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion, set aside
1 tablespoon minded garlic
1 cup frozen corn kernels
12 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas
11/2 cups crumbled feta cheese, about 8 ounces
11/2 cups grated jack cheese, about 8 ounces
1/3 cup chopped green onion tops

Tomatillo Sauce*

13/4 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 jalapeno chile use 1/2 if very hot)
1/3 cup canned chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper

Broil tomatillos on rimmed baking sheet, 5 minutes, turn, and 5 minutes more. Skin will be blackened and blistered. In dry hot skillet, roast jalapeno pepper and garlic cloves 5 minutes, or until scorched and softened. Peel garlic. Stem, seed and peel jalapeno. Place tomatillos, any remaining juice, jalapeno, garlic and stock in blender or processor. Whirl to coarse chunks. Season with pepper to taste. Makes about 21/2 cups. Can be made day before.

Garnishes:

Sour cream

20 small whole black olives

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup chopped green onion tops

Cut butternut squashes in half, rub cut side with butter and roast cut-side-down for 45 minutes. Cool. Remove seeds. Spoon squash into bowl. Discard skin.

Heat oil in heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute at low heat until very soft. Mix in squash and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tortilla over direct flame or electric burner until soft and heated through, turning with tongs, about 10 seconds per side. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Place 1 heaping tablespoon squash mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon feta cheese. Roll up tortillas. Arrange seam-side-down in a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Prepare up to 6 hours ahead, cover and chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon tomatillo sauce over enchiladas (you may have a little left), and sprinkle with jack cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until enchiladas are heated through. Sprinkle with black olives and chopped cilantro. Pass sour cream and green onion tops. Serves 4-6.

( * In a pinch, substitute 16-ounce jar of green tomatillo salsa, combined with 1/3 cup chicken broth.)

La Paloma Restaurant, San Diego, Gourmet

Thursday, October 26, 2000



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