Monthly Archives: October 2013

Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas!

Hey hey hey! I’m back in action on the blog and must apologize for taking such a long (and often lazy, unintended) hiatus. So often I would think to myself, “I should write a post about this…..” and then end up doing something else that fills my time–knitting, cooking, walking the dog, reading, napping. But I’m back, with a super awesome recipe to boot!

Anywho…..back to today’s post! I was telling my upstairs neighbor the other day that one of my favorite tools for finding dinner recipes is Pinterest.  The abundance of recipes out there is truly astounding and you can find anything you’re looking for, and lots that you aren’t, that can provide inspiration.

That happened to me two weeks ago when I was looking around for something new to add to our meal rotation. I found a lovely picture of enchiladas and clicked on the link, which took me here.  I made the recipe how the author intended, making a few modifications along the way to make things easier. The dish was good, but still needed a little kick. I also thought that the way she called for preparation of the ingredients didn’t make as much sense as it would to just cook everything in one big pot and then scoop it out to fill the enchiladas. I tinkered with the recipe and here is my  version of Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas. The second time I made these I had learned from the first and made a double batch because honestly, they are just that good. Doing a double batch allowed me to have a large dinner for me and hubby, lunch for work the next day (AND lunch for a coworker who graciously shared his deep dish pizza with me the day before), as well as a second full batch for leftovers/freezing.  Also, this recipe is slightly prep intensive, so making a double batch really does make the extra work involved worthwhile!

Kitchen Tools Needed:

  • Large skillet
  • Smaller skillet (or sauce pan). I used my smaller Le Creuset saucier, which works great for sauces because of the higher sides.
  • 2 Baking dishes, metal or glass
  • Blender, food processor, or immersion blender


  • 10 small flour tortillas (20 for double batch)
  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless skinless (if you don’t have time to prep the chicken yourself, grab a rotisserie chicken and chop up the meat)
  • 1 14-oz can black beans (2 for double batch)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 small onions, chopped (4 for double batch)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (4 for double batch)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (2 for double batch)
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika (3 for double batch)
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach (1 cup for double batch)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine) (2 for double batch)
  • 3 teaspoon chili powder (6 for double batch)
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cumin (3 for double batch)
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning (2 for double batch)
  • 12 ounces chopped tomatoes (24 for double batch) (you can used diced, canned tomatoes if you desire)
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese, preferably a mix of sharp cheddar and jack (16 for double batches)
  • 1 cup water (2 for double batch)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Sour cream


For the chicken breast:

1. Line a baking dish with foil, rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts, rub lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-45 minutes until juices run clear and internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool while you’re preparing everything else.

Chicken Breasts

2.  Once the chicken has cooled a bit, chop it up into small, bite-sized pieces and set aside until you’ll need it to be added to the enchilada mixture.

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For the beans and enchilada sauce:

1.  In your large skillet, sauté the onions in the butter over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the jalapeno and let cook another minute or two.

Sauteeing Onions and Garlic

2. Remove half of this mixture into your smaller saucepan.

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3.  In the original pan, add the smoked paprika, and the can of black beans (don’t bother draining, the liquid just enhances the flavors).

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4.  Cook until the beans’ liquid is reduced, then add in the spinach. I literally added frozen chunks of spinach and just stirred until it broke up and was cooked into the mix. About 5 minutes.

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5. Once they’ve wilted, add the chopped chicken and cook until warm and thoroughly mixed in.

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6.  Add corn and continue to cook.

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7.  In the other saucepan, add adobo, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, and water to the saucepan.

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Quick note on the tomatoes: the easiest way to do this is to just use canned tomatoes, with the juice, and toss it into the pan. However, we are at the end of garden season here and I’m working my way through what feels like a bazillion tomatoes. Thus, I just chopped up 24 ounces of tomatoes into small pieces and tossed them in the pan instead. I used a mix of heirlooms and beefsteak.

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8. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

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9. Cool slightly, then puree in a blender, taste for salt, and set aside. IMPORTANT: Blend the enchilada sauce in at least 2 separate batches in your blender. The sauce will expand as the tomatoes, onions and garlic are all liquified. And, hot stuff in a blender should not go all the way to the top. If you don’t do it this way, you will have it blow the lid off your blender and shoot piping hot enchilada sauce all over your kitchen. Don’t have that happen!

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10.  Time to make the enchiladas!!!!!

A. Spray your baking pans with Pam or other similar cooking spray.

B. Lay out each enchilada shell, and scoop in a healthy dose of the chicken, black bean, spinach and corn mixture.

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C. Wrap the enchilada up and place it into the baking dish. Repeat until you don’t have anything left of the black bean mix. Your baking pan(s) will look like this!

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D. Pour the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas in the baking dishes so that they are all covered and there is a little bit of sauce going into the corners of the pan, like so.

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E.  Grab your shredded cheese (I used an 8 ounce block of Colby Jack, shredded, and an 8 ounce block of Super Sharp Cheddar, shredded, and all mixed together in one big bowl).

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F.  Sprinkle the cheese liberally over the enchiladas, and they are now ready to be baked. You can also assemble the enchiladas up to a day in advance and store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. AND/OR you can now freeze a pan of them and then thaw them before cooking!  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown!

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11.  You can garnish with green onions, or more chopped jalapeno, and serve with sour cream.  The baked enchiladas will keep well in the fridge (properly stored in tupperware and sealed) for up to a week. If your batch of leftovers lasts that long, I will be surprised!

I hope you all enjoy this lovely meal, and if you give it a whirl, let me know how it goes for you and your families!