Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Midwestern Enchiladas

I don't know how I've never managed to post this recipe before, because it is one of my absolute favorite recipes of my mom's.  It may not be (at all) authentic, but it definitely tastes like home to me -- and it's been approved by non-Midwesterners as well as being totally delicious!  This is sort of a not-so-spicy enchilada casserole, and you should feel free to change it up however you like - make it vegetarian by leaving out the chicken (as we usually do), use refried beans if you prefer, and substitute any veggie you like for the zucchini (we usually use spinach, sauteed or frozen and then squeezed dry).  If you do change up the veggie, just make sure to remove as much liquid as possible if it's a water-y veggie to avoid soggy enchiladas.  I could imagine using roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, or summer squash as well, though I haven't tried it.  All of the amounts listed here are guidelines - you can vary the amount of the various filling ingredients according to your taste and to the size of tortillas you use.  In any case, this is very satisfying comfort food that will put a smile on your face!  Creamed corn or cornbread makes an excellent side dish.

Midwestern Enchiladas
Makes 1 9x13 pan, serving 4ish (more if you're not so hungry)

1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 pound chicken (breasts or thighs)
Salt and pepper
Canola oil
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce (unseasoned)
10 corn tortillas, warmed in microwave until softened
1 jar medium-spicy salsa (your favorite flavor, but nothing too fancy)
1 small zucchini, grated (or, 4 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream, to serve
1 avocado, cut into chunks, to serve

1. Drain and rinse the beans.  Place in a small bowl and add the cumin and oregano.  Mash lightly with a fork to incorporate the spices into the beans.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the chicken until cooked through.  Let cool slightly, and then chop into small pieces.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Spoon a little tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan to cover it in a thin coat of sauce.  Then, start building the enchiladas.  With a corn tortilla in one hand, use the other hand to put in the filling - a little bit each of tomato sauce, salsa, beans, chicken, zucchini, and mozzarella cheese.  Then, roll the tortilla up tightly and place into the pan.  You should be able to fit 8 tortillas side-by-side along one long side of the pan, with the remaining two facing the other way to fill in the gap along the other long side of the pan.
5. Smother the enchiladas with most of the remaining tomato sauce - you may have a bit extra.  Top with a generous amount of salsa, and spread everything around with a spoon so that no part of the enchiladas is uncovered.  Top with grated cheddar cheese.
6. Bake until the sauce is bubbling vigorously and the cheese is melted.  Let sit out of the oven for about 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with sour cream and chunks of avocado.


  1. This looks delicious! And, I don't do well with overly spicy (hot) foods, so this is right up my alley.

  2. I always think that enchilada is har to make, I guess I must give it another try. Thanks Sara!

  3. This looks so yummy.... and I'm originally from the midwest! Its always so special to use recipes from your mom!