sweet potato black bean enchilada casserole

It’s officially summer here in DC. But this year Mother Nature eased us in with blissfully warm temperatures, a cool breeze, and (relatively) dry air (at least over the weekend). The kind of weather where the sun warms your skin but doesn’t burn it. Or make you sweat. Where you want to be outside all day. Not your usual sweltering, humid DC summer weekend.

I don’t always follow the rules when it comes to seasonal clothing. Don’t be surprised if you  find me in a flannel shirt (e.g., last week) or corduroy on an unusually cool summer day, boots in the spring, flip-flops late fall. I wear what feels comfortable at the moment. If it’s 90 degrees in late September, I might wear my white linen pants, even if Labor Day was 3 weeks ago.

Same goes for my cooking. This weekend, I made a sweet potato black bean enchilada casserole. Warm comfort food that some would say is suitable for a cold spring evening. I also made a gluten free cranberry pie that you might see during the fall and winter holidays. I don’t care. I brought the pie to a barbecue, and you know what? No one else cared either. In fact, that pie was gobbled up in no time, in favor of the gluteny store bought brownies that sat on the counter top. It’s what we felt like eating, and it tasted just as good then as it would any other time of the year. That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy a cold glass of prosecco with a bowl of fresh berries and vanilla ice cream on a hot summer afternoon, but sometimes I want enchiladas and cranberry pie, dammit.

Sweet potatoes and black beans are two of my favorite ingredients. But it never occurred to me to put them together until I saw this recipe by Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess. Sheer genius is what it is. So simple to make, yet impressive with its unusual but brilliant combination of flavors. This is one I will make again and again. And again.

This is the second time I’ve made Karina’s recipe. The first time I followed her assembly instructions, but it was just too darned complicated for me. It required softening each tortilla in an oiled skillet before rolling up the delicate thing around the ingredients. They fell apart on me. As soon as I would let go of one rolled up beauty to heat and roll the next, the first one would unravel spilling its ingredients into the bottom of the dish. It was difficult and messy and might have involved some swearing on my part.

So this time, I made it lasagna style, layering the ingredients without bothering to wrap and roll. It was so much easier, and zero deliciousness was sacrificed.

sweet potato black bean enchilada casserole
(adapted from Karina of Gluten Free Goddess)

For the green chili sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon potato starch dissolved in a bit of cold water
1 small (about 1 cup) can chopped green chilies (or roast and chop your own)
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon cumin or chili powder

For the enchiladas
2 medium sweet potatoes, baked and chunkily mashed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Sea salt, to taste
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice from one lime
8-9 corn tortillas
1/2 cup cheese (I used a pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend, but goat, Monterey Jack, or any cheese really would work)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Make the green chili sauce by combining all of the ingredients into a sauce pan on medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sauce is the desired thickness.

In a medium bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, ground cumin, and curry powder. Mix together and salt to taste.

In a separate bowl, combine the black beans, minced garlic, and lime juice.

To assemble, spread about 1/4 cup of the green chile sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan or other baking dish. Then add a single layer of tortillas, feeling free to tear them up to fit the dish just so, or overlapping them and keeping them whole.

Spread half the sweet potato mixture over the layer of tortillas and then spoon half of the black bean mixture on top of that. Add another 1/4 cup of sauce and then sprinkle about 1/3 of the shredded cheese on top of that.

Add another layer of tortillas, followed by the remaining sweet potatoes and black beans. And finally add another layer of tortillas topped with the remaining green chili sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. 

Serves 4 (or 2 if Brian is a member of your household).

Please excuse the lack of pictures, especially good ones, in this post. It was simply devoured too quickly for picture taking!

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