9 March 2012

Chicken & bean enchiladas : the best enchiladas ever!

Which was how these enchiladas were described by both hubby and son.  In fact, hubby was even heard to mutter "eat your heart out, Thomasina Miers!" - which I take to be quite a compliment.

I can't take full credit for the recipe though, as the original version came from a BBC Good Food magazine - and you can see the original recipe online here.  For all that my version of the recipe is very similar, I did opt to develop my own spicing for them and, instead of using roast chicken legs, I cooked off two raw chicken breasts that had been lurking in my freezer, looking for something to do.

In fact, I am jolly pleased with this recipe. To explain, our butcher sells chicken breasts as 5 for £5. Ordinarily, I'm preparing a breast for each of us, which leaves the odd number of two. Invariably, these get added to the freezer and we buy another 5. So, to have a recipe that uses just two chicken breasts across a meal that satisfies 3 people, is marvellous.

As for the spicing, well, I object to having to pay 85p and upwards for a sachet of spice mix when I've invariably got exactly those spices - but individually - in my cupboard.  So, I had a good old look at the ingredients list on three different sachets and discovered that there was nothing involved in the pre-prepared spice mix that I didn't have.  I knew I had to provide a tablespoonful of fajita seasoning and I have had fajitas previously so I knew the sort of balance of flavours I was after.  My spice mix consisted of a flat teaspoonful of smoked paprika, three quarters of a teaspoonful of hot chilli powder, a rounded teaspoonful of ground cumin, a third of a teaspoonful of thyme and the same again of ground black pepper.  Having mixed all those in, the chilli effect wasn't quite as pronounced as I wanted, so I added a pinch of dried chilli flakes, plus some salt.  Perfect!

Ready for the oven

This really is simplicity itself to make.  I whipped up the enchilada filling before collecting son & heir from school, then when we returned, I filled the enchiladas, covered them with grated cheddar - and by the time I'd opened the sour cream, the salsa and made a little salad, the enchiladas had ten minutes left in the oven.  It really couldn't have gone any better.

If you're planning on cooking these for younger children who can manage a knife and fork but who don't have the track record of being able to cope with chilli, you can easily leave out the chilli flakes (which makes them mediumly spicy) and/or the chilli powder (which renders them mildly chillified).  The beans come in a chilli sauce which is very mildly spiced - so the enchiladas can be adjusted up or down, according to taste.

I enjoyed this dish very much.  For us, the spicing was perfectly balanced and could be adjusted up or down as you ate them by the addition of the spicy salsa or alternatively the sour cream.  I was initially sceptical about the inclusion of the kidney beans in spicy sauce, but I will admit that this ingredient made the dish.  Something else that made the enchiladas both interesting and added a slight crunch, was the addition of the sweetcorn.  I really liked the textural changes it brought and the additional little shots of sweetness.

Both hubby and son & heir were quite upset when they'd finished their two and half enchiladas - and were begging me to make them again, and soon.  The next time I have two chicken breasts looking for a home to go to, I think I will!

This blog post has been submitted to Ren Behan's "Family Friendly Fridays" competition :)


Ingredients :

1 tbsp olive oil
a red onion, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, grated

a flat tsp smoked paprika
three quarters of a tsp hot chilli powder
a rounded tsp ground cumin
a third of a tsp thyme
a third of a tsp ground black pepper
a pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional, for chilli heat)
a pinch of sea salt
2 skinless chicken breasts, diced finely
2 x 350g tins of red kidney beans in chilli sauce
198g tin of sweetcorn
corn wraps
100-150g grated mature cheddar

To serve :
200ml hot tomato salsa
150ml soured cream
some mixed salad.  

Method :

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.

2.  Pour the oil into a frying pan and add the onions.  Cook on a low-medium heat for around 5 minutes, or until softened and beginning to caramelise.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so.

3.  Add the spices and salt and stir to combine.  Cook them, stirring all the time, for a another couple of minutes or until they begin to become fragrant.

4.  Add the chicken breast pieces and increase the heat slightly to prevent them from poaching.   Keep stirring and turning the chicken until it has all coloured.

5.  Add the kidney beans and sweetcorn and stir to combine.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or so, to reduce the sauce slightly and allow the flavours to mingle correctly.

6.  Place a corn wrap flat onto a chopping board and add the chicken mixture horizontally along the centre line.  Take the side closest to you and wrap it over the filling, tucking it under the other side of the filling and so creating a filled tube.  Roll the wrap away from you, then lift it carefully into a baking dish, placing it with the join as the underside.  Continue until all the filling is used up.  Don't be worried about squashing them in!

7.  Sprinkle the top surface of the rolled wraps with cheese and place into the oven for 25-30 minutes.  Test that the centre wrap is hot enough, by piercing with the tip of a knife, then (carefully) hold the knife against your top lip.  You should not be able to leave the knife in contact with your lip for very long at all, if the Enchiladas are heated through properly.

8.  Serve with a hot tomato salsa, some soured cream as a coolant and some fresh salad.



  1. A lovely recipe, Jenny. Thanks for linking up again. Still trying to find out what happened to your book, so sorry about the delay, I promise a signed copy will arrive!! x

    1. Hello Ren! Don't worry about the delay, to be honest it doesn't even matter if I don't get the book - it's fun to just link up and share recipes! :)


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