It took me a really long time to embrace my slow cooker. I received it as a Christmas gift at least fifteen years ago (I'm old!) and for about ten of those fifteen years, I didn't really know what to do with it. So my slow cooker hung out all alone and sad in the back of a kitchen cabinet.
It wasn't until I started blogging and exploring recipes that my readers were into that I started to realize the slow cooker's potential. People really love these things! And I ignored mine for a decade. Were they on to something that I'd completely missed? Oh yes.
Seeing all the fuss that everyone made about slow cookers got me started with some slow cooker soups. And in addition to the obvious convenience of throwing a bunch of food in and having a meal ready at the end of the day, there's just something really nice and cozy about slow cooker meals. In the cooler months your dinner simmers away all day, filling your house with enticing aromas, and in the summer it does that too, but without heating up the house like the oven does. It's a win-win if you ask me.
I finally decided to branch out of the world of slow cooker soups and move on to some more substantial meals. Enter slow cooker enchiladas.
I'll be honest: I'm usually a bit fussy when it comes to enchiladas. I use corn tortillas. I sauté my fillings on the stove. I bake them in the oven. I had to let go of those attachments to make these slow cooker enchiladas, and while they're not anywhere near authentic, they're absolutely delicious and a total cake walk to throw together.
I did make my own sauce, just because I had all of the ingredients on hand, but it's just a basic red enchilada sauce, so feel free to use store-bought for maximum convenience. You can make the sauce a day or two in advance, and you can do the same with the fillings. If you go that route, all you need to do on the day of serving is assemble and throw everything in the slow cooker.
For the enchilada sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons mild chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
For the enchiladas:
- 1 14 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons diced green chiles from a can
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Salt to taste
- 6 medium flour tortillas
- Avocado slices
- Fresh cilantro
- Chopped scallions
- To make the sauce, coat the bottom of a medium pot with oil and place it over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and as soon as it starts to bubble, whisk in the chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Once mixed, whisk in the water and tomato paste. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it thickens up a bit. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the pinto beans, corn, onion, garlic, green chiles, cumin and oregano. Season the mixture with salt to taste.
- Ladle about half of the sauce into the bottom of your slow cooker. Place a tortilla onto a work surface and spoon ½ cup of the filling into the center. Roll the tortilla tightly and place it seam side down into the slow cooker. Repeat until all tortillas and filling are used — you might need to layer a few enchiladas on top of each other. Distribute the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas.
- Cook for 2 to 3 hours on high or 4 to 5 hours on low.
- Divide the enchiladas onto plates and serve with avocado slices, cilantro and scallions.