Recipe: Enfrijoladas

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Rancho Gordo Recipe for Enfrijoladas with heirloom bean puree

Enfrijoladas: Tortillas with Bean Puree
This is a fine recipe from Zarela Martinez' seminal The Food and Life of Oaxaca (McMillan USA). If some of the ingredients are hard to find, don't be afraid to improvise, remembering your creation won't be quite authentic. Substitute the avocado leaves with Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucdia) or omit it completely. You can really play around with it, even trying other types of beans, chiles and herbs. The basic idea is instead of an enchilada, with a focus on chiles, this dish is Enfrijoladas, with the heart of the dish being beans, or rather frijoles.    

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 Oaxacan pasilla chile or dried chipotle chile, top and seeds removed, or use 1 canned chipotle chile en adobo
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 2 dried avocado leaves
  • 1 cup cooked Midnight Black Beans
  • 3 cups (approximately) bean cooking liquid
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces queso fresco or young ricotta salata, crumbled


  1. Place the dried chile in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about 20 minutes. Drain well. (It is not necessary to soak canned chipotles.) Coarsely chop half the onion and place in a blender with the drained chile (or canned chipotle chile en adobo), garlic, avocado leaves, beans, and a little of the bean liquid to facilitate blending; reserve the rest. (Alternatively, process in a food processor; the added liquid will not be necessary.) Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the lard to rippling over medium heat. Add the puréed bean mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to thin the mixture to the consistency of heavy cream. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, and keep warm, stirring occasionally, while you make the relish.
  3. Mince the remaining half onion. In a small bowl, combine with the vinegar, oregano, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Set aside.
  4. In a small skillet just large enough to hold a tortilla, heat the oil until rippling over high heat. Fry the tortillas, one at a time, about 30 seconds. Lift out onto paper towels to drain. Fold each into quarters while it is still hot enough to be pliable; dip into the hot bean purée and place on a platter. When all are done, sprinkle with the onion mixture and the crumbled cheese. Serve immediately.

Basic Instructions for Cooking Beans in The Rancho Gordo Manner