Friday, June 3, 2011

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce with Leeks


Got your attention, didn't I!

I was making some veggie enchiladas this morning and came across some leeks in the refrigerator.

And thought--Why not?

Here's a picture of the finished product, but that's getting waaaay ahead of myself!

I made a Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole with Chile Verde on top with the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce with Leeks.

First, the sauce!

Leeks are versatile, right?

I've been putting them in soups and stews as long as I can remember.

Seems appropriate for veggie enchiladas, especially since I'm all about improvisational cooking.

Use what you have on hand or use what you like, is what I always say.

The casserole looks good already!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Originally, I was going to show you these tomatillos that I'm going to use to make my own green chile enchilada sauce, instead of using the sauce in a can.

I bought these at the local Mexican market.

If you don't use them right away, keep them in their husks, they last longer.

When you're ready to use them, peel off the papery husks and discard.

Wash the tomatillos--they sometimes get a little sticky from the husks.

It's always a good idea to wash all the food you get, right?

Cut them up into quarters.

Put them into the blender and add about a 1/2 cup of water to help the blending get going.

There was about 2 1/2 lbs. tomatillos.

It made about 7 cups of pureed tomatillos--minus the 1/2 cup of water I added.

So I'll use 3 cups of the pureed tomatillos and put the rest in the freezer for something else.

You can read about tomatillos here.

These tomatillos were a little on the sour side--apparently, the smaller ones are better.

To make the sauce, chop two sweet onions,

4 small cloves of garlic,

A rough chop is fine.

I used two leeks.

Be sure to wash them well, in between each leaf.

Leeks most likely have some sand in-between the leaves.

Slice the leeks.

I also added 1 cup chopped celery and 2 small grated carrots.

Chop 1 22 oz. can of whole green chiles.

Or, you can buy the ones already chopped.

First saute the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon.

Then add the leeks and other vegetables.

Saute until the veggies are soft and wilted, about 15 minutes over medium high heat.

To the vegetables, I added 2 teaspoons cumin and 1 teaspoon oregano, as well as 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Then I added one box of vegetable broth.

Oh! I also added some cooked beans, too.

Mix and adjust seasonings.

Toast the tortillas until they're a little browned.

I use a comal, but a frying pan works fine.

I bought the smallest package of tortillas and it had 16 in it, which filled my 11 x 14 inch baking dish.

Tear the tortillas and put them in a large bowl.

Ladle the sauce over the tortillas and mix well, adding more sauce if the mixture looks dry.

Then I added about 2 cups of cheese and mixed that in, too.

It's basically the same as the Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole but with different cheese (the cheddar adds a nice color) and different beans (this time I used an assortment instead of pinto beans).

My enchiladas are not the traditional type, where the tortillas are fried a little in oil and rolled with a filling.

Mine are not really Sonora-style, either, because those are layered.

They're more like a casserole, everything mixed together.

Serve this to your vegetarians or on Meatless Mondays.

For your omnivores, serve with a scoop of chile verde on top.



This is my dad's dog Daisy.

You met her here.

The story of Daisy begins with Rocky.

He was my dad's cat.

When I was growing up, my dad never liked animals.

My mom is the animal lover.

My dad--not so much.

But my dad loved Rocky.

I think my nephew named him Rocky because he looked like a raccoon.

Rocky was a stray that found my mom and dad, and Dad became attached to Rocky.

He talked to him.

He pet him.

He bought him treats.

He let Rocky in the house. 

(In. The. House!)

And then Dad took Rocky for rides in his truck.

Then one day...

Rocky disappeared.

Dad was heartbroken.

He searched for Rocky for a long time.


A couple of years went by, and I felt a little sad for Dad.

He had found the joy of having a pet.

Enter Daisy.

She was much smaller than this when he got her, she was only about 12 weeks old.

And SO cute!

Someone where my husband worked couldn't keep their puppy anymore and he called asking if I knew anyone that wanted to give a puppy a home.

I immediately thought of my dad.

I called my mom and asked if it was okay.

She said, "I'm not going to say no."

That means yes--to me.

So that's how they got Daisy.

They named her Daisy Mae, after the cartoon character.

Daisy has brought my parents a lot of joy.

And they adore her.

Whenever they have to leave her here with me, my dad, as he's leaving, has a hard time saying goodbye.

"Bye Daisy... Bye Daisy... Bye Daisy..."

Then, "Bye Daisy."

If I would have looked, I know he'd have had a tear in his eye.

My son Rick has said:

'If Daisy can teach Grandpa how to show love and affection--that's a dog's life well spent.'

My son is smart like that.

My mom has always loved animals.

Whenever we had pets, my mom took care of them.

Even when the pet was a rat.

(But that's another story for another time.)

She taught Daisy a neat trick.

If you hold your hand in a claw-form, and say,

"Daisy--Get Mad!"

She makes this face.

AND she growls.

Daisy actually shows more of her fangs and her lip curls up so she looks really mean--but I couldn't quite make the claw, show her a treat, and shoot a photo at the same time.

You should see Dad and Daisy after they've been apart, even for the day.

They both are so tickled to be together again, they're both over the moon.


Green Chile Enchilada Sauce with Leeks


2 leeks, washed well & chopped
2 sweet onions, chopped
4 small cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup grated carrot

1 27 oz. can green chiles, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos, washed & pureed, about 3 cups
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 29 oz. can of beans, optional 

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Saute vegetables in a about a tablespoon of olive oil until wilted. Add green chiles, tomatillos, vegetable broth and spices.

Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust flavors.

Use with your favorite enchilada recipe.


  1. love that trick!! great story! you've already taught me how to use leeks-- now looking forward to introducing my kitchen to tomatillos! thanks, Karolyn!

  2. this is a "maybe I can try" dish. But honestly. You opened your fridge and found leeks? I could look forever and never see leeks in my refrigerator. Love the daisy story.

  3. I love your food blogging but I love your stories just as much, if not more. Rocky was a beautiful cat!