I know what you’re thinking. You think I’ve turned to the dark side. Who in their right mind makes enchiladas with chard and black beans? Enchiladas are meant to be the stuff of roasted pork and slow-cooked beef. Well, most of the time, I’d agree with you. Some things just aren’t meant to be fusion-ed or vegetarian-ed. Most of the time. But not today.
Because, see, these enchiladas were good. Seriously good. Better than anything you’d make by pouring a jar of grocery store enchilada sauce over some anemic beef and tortilla rolls. So… no; they are not “authentic”. They don’t purport to be. But they’re seriously good, and that’s serious enough for me. And my husband. And the baby. And even the dog, who was showered with renegade black beans while sitting beneath the high chair.
The inspiration for this one came from the newsletter for our CSA box. It suggested using chard and black beans (both in the box) for an enchilada filling. Immediately I thought of the creamy chicken enchiladas I had made a few months ago that everyone here devoured in no time flat. With only a bit of adjustment, this recipe was born. It walks a fine line between, “Chard! Beans! Healthy!” and, “Cheese! Heavy Cream! Ack, my thighs!”. Whatever that line is, it’s a pretty tasty one.
Besides, this, for me, is the kind of recipe that I take delight in, just because everything that goes into it is kind of beautiful. The black beans, when soaked, turn a deep, dark purple that you just don’t see in the canned variety. And the bright, neon-colored rainbow chard makes the task of chopping it up kind of fun. (Think about how much more fun it is to paint a wall bright green as opposed to say… beige.) And I pretty much love sprinkling lots of fresh cilantro on anything. I’ve also been known to be overcome by a certain kind of sardonic glee from drizzling cream over the top of melty cheese. Judge me if you will. I can take it.
If you’re cooking for anyone that objects to either chard or beans, you could easily substitute shredded chicken for one or both of these things. When I make it with chicken, I substitute green chiles for the jalapeno. It makes for a milder dish.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 large bunch rainbow chard
1/2 lb (approx. 1 cup) black beans, soaked overnight
4 oz cream cheese
salt and pepper
12 small tortillas (I prefer corn, but flour would be ok, too.)
2 cups shredded chihuahua or Monterey jack cheese
2 cups whipping cream
Remove stems from chard leaves. Chop chard stems and thinly slice leaves. Set them aside, keeping them separate.
Put beans in a medium pot. Cover beans with 2-3 inches of salted water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, add lid and cook until just tender (30 to 40 minutes). Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until slightly softened. Add chard stalks and continue to cook on medium heat until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Then add the leaves and cook another few minutes until wilted. Add in the cream cheese and cooked beans and stir until cream cheese is softened and incorporated into the chard mixture. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Warm the corn tortillas in a hot, dry pan, so that they are flexible. No need to do this if you are using flour tortillas. Fill each tortilla with the chard and bean filling, roll up, and place in a 13 x 9 pan, seam side down.
Top enchiladas with cheese, then pour cream over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top. Sprinkle cilantro over the top before serving.