Hibiscus Enchiladas

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Veg Out Issue: March 2015
Group Mid-Level
Character count 2500

For Los Sombreros owner Azucena Tovar, educating diners about authentic Mexican cuisine has become a mission. “Most people think that Mexican food is just fajitas, chips and chimichangas,” she says.

Tovar stays current by making frequent culinary fact-finding trips to Mexico City. On a recent visit to her native land, she discovered hibiscus enchiladas ($15).

To make the enchiladas, Tovar soaks dehydrated hibiscus flowers overnight. In the morning, she removes half the water, adds brown sugar and boils the blossoms, saving the other half of the hibiscus water for tea. After cooking, she flash-blends the flowers and sugar water until it becomes a paste. Next, she caramelizes onions, adds fresh plums or prunes, granulated garlic and onion, cumin and salt, and then merges the blended hibiscus mixture, cooking briefly until it becomes a paste. The result is a fruity, jam-like mélange ready to stuff into corn tortillas along with a sprinkling of velvety Jack cheese.

After baking until the cheese is crisp, the enchiladas are blanketed with a simple green sauce of tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, garlic and fresh cilantro. Traditionally served with refried black beans (no lard) and a spray of sautéed, lime-infused carrots, zucchini, chayote, cauliflower and broccoli, this dish pops with a complex, sweet but salty flavor that you’ll crave for days. To satisfy your longing, Tovar also serves hibiscus tacos and quesadillas.

Los Sombreros
2534 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
14795 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale