BlackBean+SweetPotato+SwissChard Enchiladas & Spaghetti Squash with ‘Aren’t You a Sight for Red Eyes’ Gravy


With a single amendment to the sauce, these enchiladas could easily be made vegetarian. They could easily be made vegan as well, but that would require a pretty nihilistic view on enchiladas, wouldn’t it?

My good friend Kiefer came over this afternoon, with a pound of coffee for me in tow, for a brief, impromptu visit (such visits are increasingly common as it starts warming up outside, it’s simply not as fun sitting on your porch, judging your neighbors alone). The very appreciated (thanks kiefer) coffee ignited me to create a robust and complex spicy red-eye gravy. For those of you that don’t know, ‘red-eye’ is a popular gravy made from coffee and butter. I’ve heard a few variations on how it became a thing, but all too boring to recount. You’d hope someone would’ve just made something up to be worth telling by now.



I poured it over baked spaghetti squash, not because I felt particularly inspired to do so, but because I roasted one before realizing that Easter candy was a more appealing lunch.


2-3 jalapenos, core and seeds removed, diced

3/4 cup strong/double brewed coffee

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp chili powder

2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts

1 spaghetti squash, roasted (400 degrees for 50 minutes, cut in half, EVOO+s+p)

garnishes: cacao nibs, agave nectar, green onions or cilantro

Steep the jalapenos in boiling water (whatever amount you’re going to brew your coffee with) for about 15 minutes. Strain out and discard the peppers, then bring the water to a boil again.  Steep your coffee, as usual, using the jalapeno infused water. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, whisk in the coffee and bring to a boil before turning down to a high simmer. Stir frequently and keep simmering for 15-20 minutes or until thick, add the chopped hazelnuts a few minutes before it’s done to soften them a bit. Once the spaghetti squash is done roasting, use a fork to remove it from the skin, creating thin strands. Pour over the red-eye gravy and garnish.






I use a different spice melange (like mixture, not the fictional drug from Dune) than my normal chili powder for this enchilada (and the red-eye gravy) sauce. I especially like the addition of cocoa powder for it, turning it into something we’d more likely identify as a mole, while also sharing many similarities with chorizo. Any chili powder will work, and be delicious, but this one I find myself unreasonably attached to :

  • 1/2 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (high quality, unsweetened)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

I’ll eventually dedicate an entire post to spices, because I firmly believe that nothing holds a cook back (in terms of learning/progressing) more than using store-bought spice blend packets. Convenience should never outweigh being able to control, or even identify, what goes into your food. I started creating my own spice blends nearly simultaneously with beginning to cook, but even then it started a little renaissance for me. Being able to pinpoint what you’re tasting, and with what volume, to further pair it is all that cooking is.


These enchiladas are good. Really, really, really good. Pictures don’t do them justice. In fact, I couldn’t get a good picture of them to save my life that night. The pictures of the final product you see in this post are actually of the leftovers we had (yes, for breakfast). We eat them covered in kale sprouts, avocado, cilantro and tomato but, for the photos, the enchiladas looked better naked.


Enchilada Sauce

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup masa (or all purpose flour)

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1.5 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 tbsp chili powder

2 cups chicken broth

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir for 3-4 minutes, or until the roux is light brown. Add spices and continue to cook 1 minute, stirring constantly goddammit. Add chick broth, stir until sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Enchiladas

1 large sweet potato (this baby weighed in at just over 1 pound)

1 cup of corn (fresh off the cob is the best at holding up its texture, otherwise frozen over canned)

1 cup black beans (boil until juuust soft as they’ll be further cooked while baking)

2-3 big elephant-ears of swiss chard (about 2 cups chopped)

3/4 green bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

Oil for sauteing

~2 cups of enchilada sauce

~12 corn tortillas

2+ cups of cheese (I used mostly monterey jack and 20% cheddar)

Peel and chop the sweet potato into small pieces (like..2x the size of a black bean). Heat up your oil of choice (I used avocado), about 2 tbsp, over medium heat in a large skillet. Add in the sweet potato and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the swiss chard, cooking until it would no longer recognize itself, then finally the corn and black beans. Remove from heat and stir in the bell pepper and onion.

Preheat oven to 400. Spread ~1 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9×13 inch cake pan. In a small skillet over medium heat, place 1/2 tsp oil and one tortilla. Cook about 10-15 seconds. Lift and place another tortilla below it. Repeat until your final tortilla is on the bottom of the pile then remove from heat. One at a time, fill the tortillas with ~2 tbsp potato/bean mixture and ~2 tbsp cheese. Roll gently and securely, make sure all the enchiladas snug in the pan. Cover with the remaining enchilada sauce and any cheese. Bake for ~15-20 minutes. Top with diced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, freshly squeezed limes or sour cream. The leftovers are equally as delicious, baked for the exact same amount of time.


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