Thursday, September 30, 2021

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: We love enchiladas in my household, but the jarred sauce is often loaded with sodium (as are store-bought tortillas--yikes.) This recipe for homemade sauce caught my eye and it turned out to be delicious—it probably tastes the most like authentic Mexican restaurant enchilada sauce of any I’ve tried. It’s not a last-minute recipe so start ahead. In fact, one good idea would be to double the sauce and freeze half of it so you have some pre-made for next time...

You can change up the contents of the tortillas as you like. Cookie and Kate concentrated on artichokes and spinach, but I used chicken from a roast I made earlier in the week, plus black beans from black bean soup (ditto, earlier dinner), and some leftover spinach. The sauce is so good that you could use any filling—all vegetable, ground beef and rice, the options are endless. (And for future reference...)

Here’s another of my favorite enchilada recipes with green tomatillo sauce.

And here’s one made with fresh tomatoes

And here’s the black bean soup recipe, that came from Death on the Menu. 

 Now back to today's recipe!


Homemade red enchilada sauce (yields 2 cups sauce)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons ground chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups vegetable broth (check for sodium levels in broth too!)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 small red onion)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups black beans (homemade is best, but you can also use canned—rinse and drain before adding)

1 (4-ounce) can green chilis, drained

12 ounces baby spinach, preferably organic

1-2 cups shredded chicken

¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 (8-inch) whole wheat or regular tortillas

1 and 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (mine had hot peppers in it for more zip)

Handful chopped cilantro, for garnish

Measure out the spices and flour for the sauce before you start cooking. Heat the olive oil and add the spices, stirring until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and mix that in well. Next slowly add the broth—this will resemble making gravy, keep whisking until it has thickened.  Off the heat, add in the vinegar and taste to see if it needs seasoning. Set that aside.

For the enchiladas, sauté the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add your chilis and spinach and cook this until the liquid has evaporated. Add chicken and beans to heat through. Mix in the sour cream and 2/3 of the cheese.

Grease a 9x13 pan and pour a half or so of the sauce into the bottom. Divide the filling between the 6 tortillas, roll them up, and nestle them into the sauce. Sprinkle with more cheese. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until the sauce bubbles, cheese is melting, and tortillas are beginning to brown. Add more sour cream if you like it for serving, and sprinkle with cilantro for garnish.

And that's what will happen! Enjoy!

The 11th book in Lucy's Key West food critic mystery series, A Scone of Contention, is on bookshelves near you. You can find it wherever books are sold!

A scone-by-scone tour of glorious Scotland. Foodies and Outlander fans will rejoice in the references to both in this not-so-mysterious paean to Scotland. –Kirkus


  1. This sounds so good, Lucy. I'm surprised by how small a role tomatoes plays - I would have thought it would be more. That won't stop me from trying it!

  2. Sounds way too yummy not to try. Thanks for the recipe!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I habe never thought to make my own red sauce, thank you for sharing! So simple and I always have some in the fridge, so why not fresh and healthy! Scone of Contention is on my TBR list. Looking forward to some scone making!

    1. Thanks Tracy--it tastes like the stuff in a can, only better! And I hope you enjoy the book too:)

  4. Tasty and very adaptable.
    Well done!

  5. What a delicious and very useful post, Lucy/Roberta. Thank you!