story and photos by Sophie Putka
As a chilly fall finally rears its head, what better way to warm up than with the ultimate New Mexican comfort food – spicy enchiladas? Whip up some nourishing enchilada sauce with Los Chileros chile powder and layer with Sabroso Food’s fresh blue corn tortillas, chicken, beans, and squash.
Local businesses Los Chileros and Sabroso are both based out of Albuquerque. Los Chileros has been a New Mexico mainstay since 1981, when they opened in Santa Fe and began capitalizing on the state’s most cherished crop. Now Los Chileros distributes chile powders, rubs, and mixes to about 40 US states and overseas as far as Australia, Korea and India.
Chuck Waghorne, a general manager at the Los Chileros headquarters, says what makes Los Chileros chile the best is that their mixes are organic and all natural. Waghorne also added that though their competitors choose to add fillers like salt and chile seeds to their powders, Los Chileros does not.
And although blue corn tortilla chips have made a widespread mark in the snack aisles of late, the southwestern United States is one of the few areas where blue corn has such a rich history and widespread use. Blue corn also has 20% more protein than white corn and a distinctive sweet, nutty flavor.
Sabroso Foods, based out of a small and brightly colored building in the South Valley, distributes fresh tortillas to over 60 area restaurants, according to one employee. Sabroso is one of the only brands on local grocery store shelves with a blue corn tortilla option. You can grab a bag of them at Montañita Coops or Whole Foods.
Enchilada sauce adapted from “Dinner, then Dessert”
Serving size: Serves 8-10
Prep time: 1 hour
- 16 Sabroso Foods blue corn tortillas, small
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 16-ounce can black beans
- 1 half acorn squash
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- 1 30-ounce can tomato sauce
- 5 tablespoons Los Chileros Chimayo Blend Chile or Chile Molido powder (hot)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup chicken broth or bouillon
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Sliced avocado
Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut acorn squash in half, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Brush chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place both in oven and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Remove chicken earlier if done.
While you bake chicken and squash, prepare sauce.
For enchilada sauce:
In a pan on medium heat, sauté garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Add about a quarter of the chicken broth, whisk in the flour and break up any clumps. Add the rest of the broth, the tomato sauce, and the chile powder. Add cumin, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer until slightly thickened. Set aside.
Sautee onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil, combine with black beans and some of the liquid from the can. Remove done squash from the oven, remove skin and cube roughly. Add to bean mixture, mix well.
Cut or shred cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a square glass or metal baking pan, make four layers of flat tortillas topped with bean/squash mixture, chicken, and sauce. Finally, top with shredded cheese and bake for about 40 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is golden-brown.
Top with cilantro and avocado to serve.
Sophie Putka is a Massachusetts transplant in love with New Mexico. She writes, makes lattes, and haunts Albuquerque eateries in search of a good bagel. She can usually be found in the kitchen trying to use up as many leftovers as possible and plotting her next adventure.