Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas

Whenever I make food like this I can’t help but think of Billy Connolly’s bit where he is talking about Mexican Food and says it’s all the same, just folded differently! Funny and all as that is, I imagine he is picturing Tex Mex food and hugely offending the people of Mexico. This is dish is definitely more Tex Mex than anything remotely resembling authentic Mexican food.

I’m ok with that. Anything that gives me layers of spice with a rich meat sauce, soft tortillas, a tomato sauce baked and topped with loads of cheese is good in my book. My only problem with this kind of food is that I find it so hard to make it look good.

Also, when I was making this recently I couldn’t stop singing “If you like beef enchiladas” to the tune of the Pina Colada song. Now you have an insight into my weird mind and earworm for the rest of the day! Sorry about that.


Useful tips & links:

  • While I have cooked beef and black bean sauce specifically for this, enchiladas can take any filling and are a great way to use leftovers. Shredded roast chicken would be great and my Beef Chilli or Veggie Chilli would also work well.
  • Corn tortillas are traditionally used but I use flour tortillas as I love the softness contrasting with the crunchy edges after baking.
  • I thought a simple tomato sauce would work fine here, and it does, but once I started making this sauce with stock I realised it is worth the extra effort.
  • All of the different elements can be prepared in advance and just assembled before baking. In fact, both sauces benefit from being cooked in advance. The leftovers can also be frozen, without the sour cream, and reheated from frozen. The tortillas do go quite soggy in the middle, I don’t mind this but others may not like it.
  • I’ve just used a cheddar cheese here but if you can get Monterey Jack cheese it would be even better.
  • I served this with jalapenos, sour cream, Pico de Gallo and some Avocado Crema from Felicity Cloake’s The A-Z of Eating.
  • If you want to get expert advice on authentic Mexican food, have look Lily’s Echiladas vs Entomatadas post on A Mexican Cook.




Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas


Serves 4-6 people



For the enchilada sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of chipotle chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 400ml of hot chicken stock
  • 500ml of tomato passata
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

For the beef and black bean filling

  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • A medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons of chipotle chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 500g of lean minced beef
  • 400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 100ml of water
  • A dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper

To assemble and serve

  • 6-8 flour tortillas, depending on the size of your dish
  • 100g of grated cheddar cheese
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole or Avocado Crema



  • Start by making the enchilada sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the flour. Stir and cook for a few minutes as if making a roux until the flour is cooked and you have a smooth paste.
  • Add in the chilli paste, oregano and cumin and stir for another few minutes to cook the spices. Gradually pour in the chicken stock, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps, until all of the stock has been added. If there are a few small lumps don’t worry about it. Add the passata and bring to a gentle boil. Add in the sugar and a little salt and pepper and allow to simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Whisk it every so often to stop lumps forming.
  • Next make the beef and black bean sauce. Heat the oil in a wide saute or frying pan. Gently fry the onions and pepper until they are soft, then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Add the chilli flakes, oregano, paprika and cumin and stir through the onion pepper mix. Turn up the heat and crumble in the minced beef. Stir through, breaking up the beef as it cooks so that it does not clump together. Cook until the beef is browned all over.
  • Pour in the water and add the black beans, a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Mix through and lower the heat.
  • Taste the enchilada sauce and adjust for spice or seasoning as needed. Pour about 100ml of the sauce into the beef and stir through. Turn the heat off under the enchilada sauce and cover the beef and allow it to simmer for about an hour.
  • When ready to make the beef and black bean enchiladas, preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 6. Pour about two thirds of the enchilada sauce into the base of your dish.
  • Spoon some of your beef and black bean filling in a line onto a tortilla and roll the wrap up tight. Place the filled tortilla seam side down into the sauce and continue with the remaining tortillas and filling until it is all is used.
  • Pour over the remaining enchilada sauce leaving some tortilla uncovered at the side so that it crisps up in the oven. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted, the sauce is bubbling and the tortillas have browned.
  • Allow it to stand for a few minutes out of the oven before serving with your toppings.








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