Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce

New Mexico Chiles, Dried

New Mexico Chiles, Dried

By Cat, Mar 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1Vegetarian & Bean Menu; 2. Casseroles & One-Dish Meals Menu; 3. Ethnic Foods Menu; 4. Chile Sauce: Red or Green; 5. Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce

I did not grow up knowing about chiles; I discovered them after moving to Portland Oregon after graduate school, when I found the small Mexican food cafes were inexpensive and surprisingly delicious.

But then in the 1980s, a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving Santa Fe-style food opened down the street from my home in Portland. They offered a chicken and black bean enchilada with red chile sauce that I liked (but not as much as their chicken mole enchilada).

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce

I don’t recall where I got this recipe; it’s possible I was flying on my own, trying to duplicate the Santa Fe restaurant dish

I used Jack cheese, but if you can find a good mild Mexican cheese such as Manchego, that would be even better. And if you have the time, soak your beans overnight before cooking – they will cook faster and be more nutritious.

Makes 8 enchiladas.

Ingredients & Equipment:


  1. Prep (day before): Presoak the black beans overnight; rinse well before using. You may also wish to bake and shred the chicken the day before. Of if using precooked & frozen shredded chicken, thaw in the fridge overnight.
  2. Prep (day of): Prepare black beans and chili sauce; keep warm.
  3. Prepare baked chicken (if not already done): when very tender, remove skin and bones.  Shred chicken meat into a bowl and set aside
  4. Meanwhile, chop onion, slice carrot and combine. Mince garlic and set aside separately.  Shred cheese into bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and carrots and cook until wilted.  Add garlic and ½ cup prepared chili sauce. Stir well to combine.
  6. Season sauce with oregano and cumin; check seasoning and add salt if desired.  Simmer until warmed through; keep warm.
  7. Assemble & bake: Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease baking dish with palm oil or lard.
  8. Heat a bit of olive oil or lard in a cast iron skillet; soften each tortilla in the hot oil, just long enough to soften but not crisp.
  9. Spread a thin layer of sauce on a tortilla, and sprinkle with a bit of the shredded cheese (about 1 Tbsp). Spoon a bit of the shredded chicken and black beans on top. Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.  Repeat until all tortillas have been filled.
  10. Pour remaining sauce over to cover well.  Sprinkle remaining ½ cup shredded cheese over all.
  11. Bake in preheated oven about 30 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

  • Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and Pico de Gallo.  Add another spoonful of black beans on the side.
  • Add avocado slices, olives and hot sauce as garnish.
  • Serve with lettuce and tomato salad with Taco Sauce for the dressing.
  • Serve with salad of of fresh lettuce greens, Pico de Gallo, slices of avocado, a bit of shredded jack cheese and simple vinaigrette


Testing 5/18/08:  For the test meal, I served the enchiladas with a salad of fresh lettuce greens, Pico do Gallo, slices of avocado, a bit of shredded jack cheese and simple vinaigrette. Salad was excellent.  Enchiladas: Red chili sauce is excellent; I added a bit of ground cumin.  Also tastes wonderful mixed with chicken, veggies and herbs.  Black beans are also delicious. Enchiladas are OK, but not quite right. Something about the sprouted grain tortillas didn’t work as well as hoped.  In future, I’ll serve the chicken and beans over steamed brown rice, or use traditional corn tortillas (Organic, to avoid GMOs).


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