Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beef and Bean Enchiladas with Chipotle Chile Sauce

These tasty enchiladas are easy and crowd-pleasing, serving four big appetites or eight smaller ones—or somewhere in between. The filling is simple, and a little goes a long way—only one pound of ground beef for eight enchiladas. Mashing the beans to a “re-fried bean” consistency makes them easy to spread on the tortillas and creates a creamy, nutritious base for the meat and cheese.

The real key in this recipe is the sauce. It’s spicy, smoky, rich, and so easy to make. A spin in a processor and a little time on the stovetop are all it takes to create a vibrant, flavor-loaded topping for the enchiladas.

Makes 8 enchiladas


For the Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt
Garlic, Onion, and Chipotle
For the Enchiladas

  • olive oil for oiling dish, plus 2 tbsp, divided
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-oz can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 8-inch soft flour tortillas
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese

For the Sauce

  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chipotle chiles, garlic, and onion and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a small food processor and pulse until finely ground to a paste-like consistency. (You’ll need to scrape down the sides and pulse a few times.)
  3. Return the mixture to the pan and add the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, oregano, and cumin and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat until ready to use. (May be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm gently before using.)
Chipotle Mixture Beginning to Cook
Chipotle Paste 
Sauce Beginning to Cook
Chipotle Chile Sauce
For the Enchiladas
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly oil a large baking dish.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the ground beef, garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook until the beef is almost cooked through, 7-8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
  4. Re-heat the skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the beans and broth and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Use a potato masher to mash the beans as they warm, incorporating the broth into the mashed beans, until chunky-smooth. Once mashed, let the bean mixture cook until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. 
Beef Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Beef Mixture
Beans Beginning to Cook 
Mash the Beans as They Cook
Mashed Beans
Tip: Divide the beans into 8 equal wedges in the skillet to make easy portions for each tortilla:

Divide the Beans

  1. Lay the tortillas on a work surface and spoon 1/8 of the bean mixture down the center of each one. Spoon 1/8 of the beef mixture on top of the beans. Top with 2 tablespoons of cheese each.
  2. Roll up each enchilada and place seam-side down in the prepared dish. Spoon the chipotle sauce over the top. Place the dish in the oven and bake 20 minutes.
Spread the Beans 
Beef and Cheese Added

Roll the Tortillas 
Ready for Sauce 
Ready to Bake
Baked Enchiladas
Serve the enchiladas whole or cut crosswise in half.

Beef and Bean Enchiladas with Chipotle Chile Sauce


  1. This sounds delicious, the sauce sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend? :)