Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas: Welcome, Fall!

Fall is here, fall is here!

Okay, well, technically fall has been here for a week or so now, but it's only really started to feel like fall here in the New York City area since October started this weekend. The weather has been crisp and cool, with that smell of the coming holiday season in the air. I love it.

I think these gooey, cheesy enchiladas are a great fall meal, whether you eat them for dinner fresh outta the oven or freeze a bunch for easy meals-in-a-minute later in the week (I'm a big fan of this method, as we all know!). They might not be the most photogenic food in the world, but I promise they taste better than they might look. :)

These beauties are my adaptation of Caroline's Spicy Turkey Enchiladas that she posted on her blog chocolate & carrots (I highly recommend you check it out if you've never perused her site!). Since I had made lasagna with ground turkey recently, I opted to use chicken instead. My grocery store didn't have any rotisserie chicken (the style a bunch of other enchilada recipes I read recommended) in stock that day, so I went for the ground chicken. I also opted to add black beans to the chicken and veggie mixture inside the tortillas, and I can't adequately convey to you how yummy it was. I love the texture beans lend to Mexican dishes, and these bulked up the tortillas nicely. Two thumbs up!!

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
Adapted from chocolate & carrots's Spicy Turkey Enchiladas 

1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 lb ground chicken meat
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tomatoes, sliced (I only needed 1 1/2)
8-10 whole wheat tortillas (I used Mission medium soft tortillas, 10 count)
~1 cup shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
1 10-oz can red enchilada sauce
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat diced pepper and onion with olive oil in a medium saucepan until onion begins to soften. Then add in ground chicken, breaking into marble-sized pieces, and continue cooking together until meat has no pink left.
3. While the veggies and chicken are sauteing, heat rinsed and drained black beans in a separate, smaller pot until warmed through and lightly simmering.
4. Add pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder to the veggie and chicken mixture and allow combined ingredients to simmer--you want to make sure those great flavors are absorbed!
(**Note: I drained off the excess oil and juices from the chicken before adding the spices. I would recommend you not do this, because it's much harder to make sure the spices coat the chicken and veggies evenly without that added moisture. I also would have appreciated a moister filling as the cooking process went on. Moral of the story--hang on to that cooking liquid.)
5. Line the bottom of a 9x13" Pyrex pan with your sliced tomatoes.
6. Distribute the black beans and chicken/veggie mixture evenly among the tortillas. Roll each tightly and place, seam side down, in a row on top of the tomato layer.
7. Pour enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas, then top with shredded cheese.
8. Cover entire pan with aluminum foil, trying your darndest to keep the foil from touching the cheese (see the "after" picture below and you'll know why!).
Alas! Cheese crater as a result of foil contact.
9. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook under the broiler for another 5-7 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown and enchiladas are bubbling.
10. Let stand for another 5-7 minutes before cutting. Serve with your garnish of choice! Sour cream, a squirt of lime, or even chunky salsa all would be great with these enchiladas.

A thought, in retrospect:

I was a little nervous about all of the spices Caroline had in her original recipe. "Ground red pepper and red pepper flakes? Plus chili powder and black pepper and cumin?? I can't handle that!" was more or less the narrative running through my head. So I decided to cut the ground and flaked red pepper, keeping the other spices in their original proportions. In the end, I wound up feeling like I actually would have appreciate some extra kick! Go figure. I guess my palate has grown into spiciness. :) Don't be afraid of the flavors this recipe packs!

I would have tried to make this a prettier picture for you, but it was too yummy. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Oh, and I can't finish this post without making sure all of my invisible internet friends out there know: Erin over at The Spiffy Cookie is hosting an awesome bake sale auction right this very second. All of the proceeds from the 20+ baked goodies up for grabs will go to help pay the medical bills for her friend's twin brother, who suffered an accident that resulted in his leg being amputated below the knee. Erin will add her bake sale profits to the funds raised by the 5K Run for Dave being held by Dave's family to help pay for his prosthesis. What are you waiting for? Go check it out! And, if you're so inclined, make a bid for my Oatmeal Raisin Comfort Cookies--wouldn't they hit the spot on a cool fall evening?


  1. It's SOOO hard to get a good final shot of enchiladas, isn't it?? They're so crazy good, but they're not usually very pretty! This recipe looks delish.

  2. I am completely with what Lori said! Really tough to do.

  3. We love enchilladas. Well, anything Mexican really. But the recipes are always so hard to photograph. First, its so hard to not want to just dig in right then and there while its pipping hot and smelling delicious. Second, they always seem to fall apart or not look as nice as other recipes. But doesn't matter. Still really good. Great share :)

  4. Mmm! Perfect to pull out of the freezer after a long day at work!

  5. i like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.


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