I love Mexican Food….Tex-Mex…Gringo or just about anything that comes from south of the border! Which border you may ask? Any border that borders Texas, New Mexico, and yes, even Mexico.
It wasn’t until I lived in New Mexico (and Texas), that I came to really appreciate Mexican food. I love green and red chiles from Hatch, New Mexico and I love Tex-Mex enchiladas from Texas. I love spice-y!
The first thing you might notice in this recipe is the addition of black beans. You can find black beans just about anywhere these days, but there was a time when it was considered a more Caribbean or South and Central American bean.
You see the Pinto bean is the staple of New Mexico and Mexico. This brown bean is almost always found simmering on the back of the stove in any New Mexican home. I jumped into the culture immediately (mainly because of all our family and friends) and so, beans and refried beans… became part of my everyday world. Refried beans, or frijoles, actually are not refried at all….but are made with cooked Pinto beans that have been mashed a bit with a bit of onion and garlic much like we might make mashed potatoes. It is thought the misnomer “refried” came about because, in the Spanish language, “re” just emphasized the “cooked thoroughly” concept. Of course, refried beans can be reheated by placing them in a skillet with a bit of lard or reheated in the microwave or oven. Pinto beans are the bean of choice when doing a “refried” bean.
Let’s talk Santa Fe, New Mexico!
Santa Fe is beautiful and sits at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
So pretty, yes? Now, that we have seen Santa Fe, let us go back to the beans, particularly black beans. You will see the connection. 🙂 Sorry, if I am jumping around a bit, but I am excited to share New Mexico with you as well as a delicious, quick recipe!
I remember the first time I tasted black beans in association with Mexican dishes. It was at the La Plazuela restaurant in (reportedly/historically) the oldest hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico…the La Fonda Hotel. This restaurant (pictured above) is nestled in the center of the hotel and in those days it was the “trendy” place to go in Santa Fe to find extraordinary cuisine. The recipes cooked up in their kitchen included black beans, with queso fresco, accompanied with red, green and papaya salsas, served with green onion jicama slaw. These days, the dishes are pretty common everywhere….but years ago, it was “trendy” and Yummy!
Below is a pic of the roof top restaurant that is closed to the public in the wintertime….but as soon as the weather warms a bit…and the snows start a bit of melting off the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the view from the outdoor eating is amazing. You can see the old church, the Georgia O’Keeffe Art Gallery and many other historic sites.
In 1948, Simone de Beauvoir, the famed French existentialist and writer, visited the famous landmark hotel often called, a living museum. “La Fonda is the most beautiful hotel in America,” de Beauvoir wrote, “perhaps the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life.”
The above pics are Mexicali Chicken Casserole…and it is delicious. Yes, I confess that I get mesmerized with the beauty of New Mexico and especially the people, friends and family.
The following recipe did not come from the La Plazuela in Santa Fe, but it does contain the infamous black beans. It is so easy to make…toss it all together and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top with cheese and lettuce and tomatoes and another delicious Mexicali Chicken Casserole.
Have a Blessed day, my dear readers….and if you ever get to New Mexico, you will see why the state is called The Land of Enchantment, and while you are there, be sure to have lunch or dinner at the La Fonda Hotel!
- 1 bag (11 oz) Green Giant™ Steamers™ frozen corn & black beans with brown rice in a Southwestern style sauce
- 2 cups cooked chopped chicken breast (I used deli chicken)
- 1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce, Medium or hot, (I use Old El Paso)
- 1 small can of chopped green chiles (I use Old El Paso or Ortega)
- 4 chopped scallions (green onions)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup of diced onion
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (can also use green or yellow or all three)
- 3/4 cup finely shredded Mexican style cheese blend
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced and quartered (you can use a whole tomato if desired)
- Warm flour tortillas
- Salsa, sour cream or guacamole
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and spray your casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Thaw the bag of steamer veggies and place in a large mixing bowl
- Add in the chopped chicken, onions, red bell pepper, cilantro, chiles and enchilada sauce. Add in about 2 tablespoons of the green onions
- Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and add the cheese to the top; then return to the oven just until the cheese is melted
- Top with shredded lettuce, tomato and the remaining green onions
- Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream or guacamole with warm flour tortillas
- if you don't want to use the frozen steamer veggies, you can make your own veggies by combining 1 cup of corn, 2 cups of cooked Spanish rice (or white rice), 1 cup of black beans or pinto beans and add another can of enchillada sauce...your choices.