Enfrijoladas are sort of like enchiladas. They are made with corn tortillas, beans, cheese and possibly some additional protein. With enchiladas, the tortillas are dipped in an enchilada sauce. With enfrijoladas, the tortillas are dipped in a bean puree sauce. You could add beef, chicken, cheese to your enfrijoladas or you could make them completely vegan. This is a dish that is served throughout Mexico, especially in Oaxaca. It is a homey sort of meal; the kind of thing that is perfect for a comfortable evening around the dinner table.
As far as I am concerned, this meal has everything going for it: it’s easy to make, inexpensive, good for you, delicious, and it can be served with a multitude of condiments so that each person can dress it up to their personal taste. I think it would make a perfect Meatless Monday meal because it is so satisfying and filling that no one would miss the meat. It does not have a whole grain – but it does have corn tortillas which are a whole grain product.
This is the first time that I have made enfrijoladas. I checked out a lot of recipes. I adapted my version from a Rick Bayless recipe that I found online. His recipe called for chorizo which of course, I don’t eat. And he used black beans flavored with an avocado leaf. That is a typical Oaxacan preparation, but alas, I had no avocado leaf! So I had to make a few alterations.
I used Rancho Gordo pinto beans. I love black beans but on this particular day I had a hankering for pinto beans.
In my small crock pot I cooked one cup of pinto beans along with 2 cloves of garlic and one dried chipotle pepper. Chipotles are dried jalapenos. They have a really smokey flavor. When I opened the bag of peppers I was pleasantly bowled over by their smokiness. I wasn’t sure how hot they would be so I only used one pepper. Canned chipotles are generally pretty hot but these dried peppers were more flavorful than spicy. Next time I would use two. I stemmed and seeded the chipotle and then threw it right into the pot with the beans.
When the beans were good and tender, I put beans, garlic and chipotle into my blender and pureed until smooth. I added bean broth to thin the puree. It needs to be the consistency of “a thick cream soup”. I used all of my bean broth and still needed to add a little water to get it to the proper consistency.
The next step is to dip the corn tortillas into the bean sauce and assemble the casserole. There are several possible ways to do this. You can dip the tortillas in the bean puree then put cheese/meat in them and roll them up like an enchilada. You can put sauce on them and simply layer them with cheese/meat in between. In the end, I went with Rick Baylesses suggestions, and simply dipped the tortillas in the sauce and then folded them into quarters. I did not put cheese in them – decided that cheese on the top would be sufficient.
I found this step to be a bit tricky. I steamed the corn tortillas so that they would pliable. The tortillas were hot. The sauce was hot. Everything was just hard to handle. So here is the method that I used:
Lay a warm tortilla on top of the bean puree, using tongs, turn the tortilla over so that it has sauce on both sides.
With the tongs, gently fold the tortilla in half.
Fold into quarters.
Layer in the casserole dish. Pour additional sauce over the tortillas.
Top that with some cheese. I used cheddar cheese, but you could use Monterrey Jack or a crumbly Mexican cheese.
Pop that into a 400 degree oven and bake until the cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbly.
So while that was baking, I turned my attention to the toppings. I made a homemade salsa with fresh tomatoes, Serrano peppers, cilantro and lime. That is a favorite in my house. Of course, your favorite store bought salsa would work fine. I cut up an avocado and squeezed a lime on it. I thinly sliced iceberg lettuce and chopped some green olives. I set out some sour cream.
I forgot to put the jalapenos in that photo. But for me, these are a must!
So with the toppings assembled, the enfrijoladas were ready to eat.
And it was delicious! The bean puree was so flavorful. The chipotle chili gave it a wonderful smokey flavor. The tortillas largely held their shape, but the sauce gave them a silky texture. And of course, the toppings mean that Husband and I could each make our plate exactly as we liked. Husband raved! Husband had seconds!
Would I make this again? Absolutely! It was easy to make and tasted great.
And this meal was budget friendly. No…it was cheap. This could have easily served six. I saved my grocery store receipt and calculated the cost. Even with all those toppings, the cost came out to about a $1.50 per serving. I think the one wild card here might be the corn tortillas. I live in South Texas so corn tortillas are inexpensive and readily available. I am guessing there are places where that isn’t entirely true. I don’t think there are any good subsitutes for corn tortillas in this dish.
I also calculated the calories, fat, fiber and protein in this dish. I know this isn’t completely scientific, but I added up the values in each component and did the math that way. My estimate is that each serving is about 275 calories, 8 grams of fat (from the cheese), 11 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. That does not include the toppings and those you can add as much or as little as you like, giving you complete control.
Like I said, you could add meat to this dish so it would please the carnivores. You could serve it with Mexican Rice and a big salad. We had some fresh cut mango with ours. I think this is a terrific, versatile dish that will make a regular appearance on our dinner table!