If you put 100 bloggers in a room together and asked them what the most difficult food item to photograph is, you'd have a few responses. I think enchiladas or other casserole type dishes would be at the top though. If you go for a shot out of the oven, you don't see in innards. If you cut it up to show the insides, you have sloppy looking sauce smears in the pan and a cut up product on the plate. Neither are going to win awards for aesthetics.
I've found that the only benefit of taking 20 minutes to get a decent photo is the casserole has time to set up, and isn't a total disaster when you finally cut it! I can't tell you how many lasagnas slid apart pre-blogging days as a result of bypassing the "remove from the oven and rest 10 minutes to set up" instruction.
So I tried with this. I tried really hard, because I want this recipe to look as amazing as it tastes! This mole is spicy, sweet, smoky, the butternut tones down the sauce and it is a winning combination. I decided that a few dollops of sour cream would add to the aesthetics, as well as a sprinkle of cilantro. I almost put the sour cream in a squirt bottle to make nice zig-zag pattern and really class it up, but like I said, I can only wait so long to eat.
I guess you'll just have to take my word for it, and Joanne's, whose blog this recipe comes from, that it tastes far better than it looks. And it is a great way to incorporate the flavors of fall into a Tex-Mex dish.
While Mole can be intimidating because of the laundry list of ingredients, they are probably things you already have on hand. And honestly, you can make adjustments to use what you have rather than go buy ingredients. I made a few changes, substitutions, and additions, which I reflected in my recipe below. You can check Joanne's blog to see what she used.
Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
from Eats Well with Others, Originally from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs.)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. milk, cream, sour cream, etc.
4 dried ancho chilies
2 dried chipotle chilies
1/4 c. silvered almonds
1 tbsp. tahini
1 heaping tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 whole plum tomatoes, seeded (canned works fine)
1/4 c. raisins
2 c. vegetable stock
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground allspice
Salt and black pepper
6 flour tortillas
1/2 c. fresh grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400*
Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds and discard.
Place cut side up in a casserole dish, fill with 1/4" water.
Sprinkle squash with 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, cover with foil and roast for 30-45 minutes, until tender.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, lower oven temperature to 350.
While squash cooks, prepare Mole.
Place the chilies in 1 c. boiling water to reconstitute for 10 minutes, drain and chop chilies.
Place chilies, almonds, tahini, chocolate, onion, garlic, tomatoes and raisins in a blender, add enough vegetable stock to achieve a puree.
Heat EVOO in a large pot over medium heat, add the puree, bay leaf, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper.
Sauté for about 5 minutes, constantly stirring.
Add vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, turn to low and reduce for an hour or so.
Scoop squash from the skins and place in a bowl.
Mash with a potato masher, adding milk/cream as necessary.
Ladle Mole into a casserole dish to coat the bottom.
Fill tortillas with 1/6 of the squash mixture, a sprinkle of cheese, and roll.
Place in the casserole dish seam side down and repeat.
Cover all enchiladas with remaining Mole (I had about 1 c. extra, which I froze).
Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and cilantro.