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If you are making a baked Mexican chicken casserole that uses black beans, what can you substitute for the blacks beans to enhance flavor but not totally change the dish into something else?

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Can you add some criteria or constraints to help guide a more reasonable answer? Perhaps, share the main recipe. Are other beans acceptable? Is there some reason not to simply omit them of you don't like them? See:… – SAJ14SAJ Sep 27 '13 at 2:05
Two of the people who eat this do not tolerate black beans well. The ingredients in the dish are: caramelized onions, shallots, garlic paste, black pepper, chicken stock, sour cream, flour, ro-tel tomatoes and chiles, roasted corn, black olives, shredded chicken, tortilias, and Mexican cheese. I like some kind of bean in this dish for texture, and hopefully enhanced flavor. I guess I am open for suggestions. – Suzy Winkel Sep 27 '13 at 3:26
Are there other beans that the people do tolerate and that you like? What about something that adds a bit more heat? Barring that, how about a smear of refried beans or chili-ready beans (both available canned)? Seasoned rice is another possibility. BTW, if you edit your original question to include what you have posted here, the original question will probably be better received. – Jolenealaska Sep 27 '13 at 3:55

You have to ask yourself, what role to the beans play in this dish (see Are there any general principles of ingredient substitutions?)?

In this case, they are an (likely) an accent ingredient that provides some texture, and flavor, and some of the Mexican identity of the dish.

As an accent ingredient, you have a lot of discretion on how to change out the black beans. The nature of the flavor that they provide is not overly strong and aggressive, so this rules out ingredients with very strong flavors due to your desire not to change the nature of the dish very much.

Obviously, the most likely candidate is another bean, if your guests can and will eat them, as they will be most similar to black beans. Pintos are fairly typical of Mexican cooking.

Another likely substitution would be corn, which also adds texture and flavor, but this is already present in the recipe. If you can get it, you might try some hominy, but this is a more exotic ingredient (at least in some places) that might be surprising to your guests. It will provide an interesting textural and flavor contrast to regular kernel corn.

While not technically a substitution, you can also simply omit the beans. As an accent ingredient, their loss won't change the substantial outcome of the dish.

Spreading a little further out, a fresh legume like chopped green beans, peas or limas will work well with your other ingredients.

In the end, an enchilada is mostly a method (and technically the chili sauce that gives the dish its name) and you have nearly complete freedom to vary the ingredients according to your tastes and the availability of ingredients.

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They may also be providing a bit of the bulk of the dish; it's probably a can or two of beans. If none of the good substitutes work out, compensating with a bit of extra chicken might not be a bad idea. – Jefromi Sep 29 '13 at 3:35
True, which is why I said "likely", based on the information available. If it is a bulk ingredient, I would go with rice if another bean doesn't work--but then I really like rice in my tortilla based foods anyway. – SAJ14SAJ Sep 29 '13 at 3:40

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