Monday, December 15, 2008

Soft Tacos with Butternut Squash, Plantain, and Poblano Chilies

I've never cooked plantains before but they are very potato-ish once they are cooked. I've only had them fried before, so it was fun to try them out in a new way. Even though these tacos sound very odd, they are really yummy. Obviously we used storebought salsa instead of homemade because there's no way I'm making homemade salsa on a weeknight. And we used flour tortillas because I've decided I just really don't like corn tortillas. We liked this a lot and would make them again.

Note: Because of the larger flour tortillas, we had enough filling for two tacos each and didn't have any filling left over. So keep this in mind if you use small corn tortillas.

taco

Soft Tacos with Butternut Squash, Plantain, and Poblano Chilies
Everyday Greens via CLBB

Notes from CLBB: can use store-bought fire-roasted salsa, don't double-up the corn tortillas, use a lot less oil, makes a LOT of filling - maybe too much for the small tortillas

1 tsp chipotle puree (Basically just a pureed can of chipotles in adobo)
2 roasted poblano chilies, diced, about ½ cup (Roast under broiler as you would a bell pepper and cool in a sealed bag or covered bowl, then remove skin.)
½ large butternut squash, cut into small cubes, about 3 cups
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne
1 ripe plantain, peeled and chopped, about 1 ½ cups
1 large onion, diced
2 large red bell peppers, diced, about 2 cups
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2-3 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
2 dozen corn tortillas
6 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated, about 1 ½ cups
oil for the pan
romaine lettuce, cut into ribbons
crème fraiche or sour cream
fire-roasted salsa (see below)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Toss squash in a baking dish with ½ Tbsp olive oil, ½ tablespoon garlic, ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch each of black and cayenne pepper. Roast until tender, 15-20 minutes. Set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the plantains. Return to boil and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash plantains with a fork.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onions, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook over medium heat until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the peppers, the remaining cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and cayenne and cook until tender, about 4 minutes, adding water as needed to keep vegetables from sticking to pan. Stir in plantains, squash, 1 tsp chipotle puree, and the chilies and cook together for 1 minute. Add the lime juice and the cilantro and season to taste with salt and chipotle puree. Keep filling warm over low heat. Have all your ingredients and toppings ready before you make the tacos.

Heat a little oil in a skillet and place two tortillas on top of each other. When the tortillas are soft and heated through, flip them over and heat other side. Sprinkle with 2-3 Tbsp of cheese and spread about 1/3 cup filling across center. Fold in half and keep warm in oven while you prepare the rest. Garnish with lettuce, crème fraiche, and spoonful of salsa before serving.

Yield: 12 small tacos or 8 big tacos

Fire-Roasted Salsa
1 lb plum tomatoes, cored
½ medium onion
1-2 jalapeno or serrano chilies
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 ½ -2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro

Prepare grill. Brush tomatoes, onions, and chilies with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tomatoes and chilies are soft and skins are blistered and onion is grilled on all sides. Let cool.

Coarsely chip the onion and tomatoes in a bowl. Slice chili in half lengthwise and remove stem and seeds. Chop chili and toss with tomato mixture, along with 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice, ¼ tsp salt, and pinch of pepper. Season to taste with salt and lime juice. Toss in cilantro just before serving.

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