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Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken, Kale, and Black Bean Enchiladas

I found the best chicken enchilada recipe ever on the Annie Eats blog about two years ago.  The sauce is simple to make and absolutely delicious.  (I haven't used enchilada sauce out of a can since I found this recipe.  I can no longer stomach it since having made it from scratch.)  There is a bit of time involved in the actual construction of the enchiladas, but it is well worth it.  Trust me.  They are so so good.  I decided to try it out today replacing half the chicken the recipe calls for with black beans and kale.  It came out fantastic!  Feel free  to go back to the original recipe sans beans and kale, but if you are looking for an easy, tasty way to incorporate some beans and greens into your meal, then I recommend doing it this way.  I had some leftover kale in my fridge, so that's what I used.  I love when the ingredients I have on hand lead me toward a delicious meal.  It's serendipitous.

Chicken, Spinach, and Black Beans Enchiladas
adapted from Annie Eats

1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
2 tsp canola oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. sugar
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz. fresh kale, stems and ribs removed and chopped into small pieces (I would have used more if I had more)
1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
12 8-inch corn tortillas
Cooking spray

Combine the onion, jalapeno and 1 tsp of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook just until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through (160˚ F on an instant-read thermometer), about 12-20 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the kale in a pan with the other tsp of oil until tender.  When the chicken has finished cooking, transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the onions and tomatoes to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the reserved solids to a large bowl and set aside. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces (I used a kitchen scissor to get the chicken into even smaller pieces after I shredded) and add to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add in ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of each of the shredded cheeses, the black beans, sauteed kale, and the cilantro. Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Oil a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds, until warm and pliable. Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.  Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce oven the top. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Hyper Smash

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