Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sweet potato, kale, and black bean enchiladas


As a kid, enchiladas were my favorite thing to order when my family went out for Mexican food. For some reason though, I hadn't ever cooked enchiladas myself until recently. I guess I usually make tacos or burritos when I have a Mexican craving, and I never really thought about making enchiladas instead. But I was doing a freezer cleanout recently, and found a package of corn tortillas that needed to be used. I had also been wanting to experiment with making chile sauces, and enchiladas seemed like the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. It took a couple tries for me to come up with a good chile sauce recipe, and I am thrilled with the final result that I am sharing with you here. It has a nice deep chile pepper flavor that is tempered by tomatoes, and it isn't too spicy. It worked really well with the sweet potato, kale, and mashed black bean filling that I used (spring is almost upon us, but until spring vegetables arrive, I'm perfectly happy eating kale and sweet potatoes!). I'm really glad I made a batch of 16 enchiladas for dinner - Andrew and I have been really enjoying the leftovers and I don't think they're going to last very long...

In other news, I finally created a Facebook page for my blog so that I can stop spamming my whole friend list with blog updates. You can "like" the page here if you are interested in following via Facebook:

p.s. I know it's St. Patrick's Day, and enchiladas are really not Irish. Sorry. They do pair well with beer though!

Is there a dish that you love eating at restaurants but have never tried making at home?

Sweet potato, kale, and black bean enchiladas
Makes 16 enchiladas

The flavor of the chile sauce gets even better over time, so make it a day ahead if you can. This recipe makes more sauce than you need for the enchiladas, but the sauce is really good so I'm sure you won't mind having it around. Eat it with tortilla chips, or eggs, or whatever you want.

7 dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles
28 oz. whole canned tomatoes, drained, with juice reserved
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup cilantro (packed)
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/4 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 lb. sweet potato, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch kale, stems and ribs removed
1/4 tsp chile powder
1 tbs canola oil
Spray oil
16 corn tortillas
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Toppings/garnishes (optional): red onion, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges

Heat a heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat until hot. Toast chiles in batches, pressing down with a spatula to flatten the chiles, about 1 minute per side, until chiles begin to blacken. Transfer chiles to a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Weigh chiles down (I used a large can of tomatoes as a weight) and let them soak for 30 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving the soaking liquid, and remove stems and seeds (it's ok if you don't remove every seed - these chiles are not very hot). Roughly chop chile flesh.

Transfer chopped chiles to a large heavy saucepan along with tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, 1/2 cup chile soaking liquid, and 1/2 cup reserved tomato juice. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, breaking tomatoes up with a spoon. Cover pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Add lime juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, smoked paprika, and sugar. Add salt to taste. Set sauce aside until needed.

Preheat oven to 425 deg F. Toss sweet potato cubes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast sweet potatoes in the bottom third of the oven until they are browned and can be easily pierced with a fork, tossing once halfway through, about 30 minutes total. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 deg F.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil kale leaves until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain kale, reserving 1/2 cup water, and chop leaves.

Place black beans in a small bowl with 3 tbs of the reserved water from cooking the kale. Coarsely mash the beans with the water (I used the bean can as a masher). If you would like a thinner consistency, add another spoon or two of water and mix. Stir in 1/2 tsp cumin and chile powder and add salt to taste (mine did not need any additional salt - canned beans are often salted, and the kale cooking water has salt).

Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat with spray oil. Cook tortillas in batches, adding more spray oil as necessary, until tortillas are very dry (but still pliable) and golden in color (not brown), about 40-50 seconds per side.

Fill a tortilla with beans, sweet potatoes, and kale. Roll up tortilla and place it seam side down in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Repeat with other tortillas and the remaining filling (I was able to fit all 16 tortillas in a single pan). Pour 2 cups of sauce over the tortillas and top with shredded cheddar and crumbled feta cheese (you will have extra sauce).

Bake enchiladas at 350 deg F for 10 minutes, until cheddar is melted and enchiladas are just heated through. Add topping and garnishes as preferred. Serve immediately, with extra sauce if desired.

Leftover enchiladas can be stored in the fridge for a couple days. Just microwave or bake to reheat.


  1. Looks delicious! I'm adding your facebook page to my facebook page's favorites right now!

  2. Some of my favorite ingredients in this dish! The feta sounds like a fun pairing!

  3. I've never made enchilada sauce, so I'm excited to try this. And I agree - I'm perfectly happy eating sweet potatoes and kale until spring arrives!

  4. I like enchiladas but haven't made them in forever, I love this combo of ingredients

  5. YUM! I LOVE the combo of black beans and sweet potato!

  6. loved this combo when I made a version quite like this :) delicious!!


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