Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
I’ve made many enchiladas in my life, but I always make them the same way. There is usually chicken, and definitely refried beans. There is always cheese. And the enchilada sauce comes from a can. These are terrific enchiladas.
I’ve also cooked many sweet potatoes in my life. They are almost always roasted, either whole or cubed, tossed with oil and salt. They get stirred into rice, or baked in gratins, or mixed into soup. They find their way to salads. I love me some roasted sweet potatoes.
I have never thought to combine these things. But last weekend, I did. And I did not regret it. The enchilada became something wholly new, something a little bit healthier, and full of flavors I never thought I would find there. Sweet potatoes love enchiladas. They love beans and chiles. How have I kept them apart for so long?
This is also the first time I made enchilada sauce from scratch, although I will completely admit to you that this was no slow cooked affair made with beautiful, brick-red dried chiles or anything like that. This was a quick and dirty sauce, super spicy and very easy. It was a good entry point to homemade chile sauce. I am now less afraid.
The avocados are a crucial addition to this dish. Unless you hate avocados, in which case, who are you? Their mild creaminess tempers the heat of the sauce and adds another great texture to the overall dish. I think we’re getting to the end of avocado season in Northern California, though, because the last three times I bought avocados they haven’t been quite as spectacular. However, they are still very, very good. Good avocados make me feel lucky.
I usually drown my enchiladas in cheese, and even put cheese inside the tortillas. I didn’t think these needed as much, and I’m glad I decided to scale back. It let the rest of the ingredients shine a bit more. This was supposed to be pepper jack, but I didn’t really detect a lot of pepper in the jack. You could also get away with Monterey Jack, or Colby, or simple cheddar. You could get fancier with some queso fresco or cortija, although it won’t be as melty.
Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
Adapted from Whole Foods, and from Karina’s Kitchen: Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess. My version is not gluten free.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 small can green Hatch chiles
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon cumin, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chile powder (I have really spicy cayenne right now; I scaled back and this was still super hot; do what you think is best)
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- juice from 2 limes
- salt and pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
- about 1/3 cup shredded pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese
- avocados, for serving
First, roast the sweet potatoes. Clean the and cut them into half inch cubes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with a thin layer of vegetable oil, about a tablespoon (save the rest for assembling the enchiladas). Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet, and roast for about 20 minutes, until they’re cooked through, but still firm. Remove from the oven and let cool. Lower the heat to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Dissolve the arrowroot powder in about a tablespoon of cold water. Heat the vegetable broth in a medium sauce pan, and whisk in the arrowroot mixture. Stir in the chiles, the garlic, cumin, and cayenne or chile powder. Cook until the mixture is hot through and a little thick. Use a blender or an immersion blender to blend the mixture until it’s smooth, and set aside.
Once the sweet potatoes are cool (they don’t have to be entirely cool, just not steaming), stir them together with the black beans, lime juice, and about a teaspoon of salt. You can add a bit more cumin here, if you like. Add pepper to taste. Now you assemble the enchiladas. Pour about a quarter cup of the sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish, and spread it along the bottom. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a medium skillet. Once it’s hot, take one tortilla at a time and quickly dip it in the hot oil. Put an eighth of the filling in the tortilla, and roll it up. Place it in the dish, seam down, and assemble the next tortilla. This is best if the baking dish is small enough that the rolled tortillas are kind of smushed in the pan.
Once all of the tortillas have been filled and rolled, fill the edges of the dish with any remaining filling, if you have it. Pour the rest of the sauce all over the enchiladas, and top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melting and just starting to brown. Let the enchiladas sit and settle for about five minutes before serving. Top with sliced avocados.