Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stacked Black Bean Enchiladas With Sweet Potato Rounds

This is so much easier than rolling and assembling them in a baking dish.

I wouldn't blame you if spending an entire day making beans, and corn tortillas isn't your idea of a quick dinner. In fact, I'd encourage you to try this with tinned beans and store-bought tortillas. I'm including the bean recipe as well as the tortillas, but really, you could make these with little more work than opening a few packages.

For the black beans:

This makes quite a bit, but the extras freeze well, and if you like to make a dozen burritos for the freezer, you'll go through them in no time. I like a freezer stocked with burritos-a little planning ahead pays off when I don't feel like cooking dinner.

1 lb dried black beans, sorted and soaked overnight before cooking. When tender, cool and reserve cooking water.
3 bay leaves
6 large carrots, finely diced
2 large onions, finely diced
1-2 green bell peppers, diced
6 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Corn oil for cooking (I like corn with Tex-Mex food, but use whatever you prefer)about 1/4 cup
1 tin corn, rinsed and drained

Spice mix:

4 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
Salt/pepper to taste (if using tinned beans, cut down on salt)
4 heaping teaspoons chili powder (if using mild, adjust as needed)
4 heaping teaspoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
Chili flakes to taste

To cook beans: place overnight soaked beans in a heavy pot, cover with water. bring to a boil, skimming any scum that rises. Cover, leaving room to vent and simmer until tender-about 2 hours, replenishing water as needed. You'll notice I don't add anything to my black beans when I cook them. You could certainly add the bay leaves at this stage, possibly even a whole, un-peeled onion and some garlic if you like. I tend to keep it plain in case i want to freeze some for use in something else, but do what works best for you.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and add the carrots, onions, bell pepper, garlic, and bay leaves. When onions begin to soften, add the corn, thyme, and drained beans. Cook a few minutes, then dump in the spice mix and coat well. Cook a few minutes longer, then add the cooking liquid from the beans. If it does not cover everything, add a bit of water. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook about 1 hour, stirring often to keep it from scorching. If you prefer soupier beans, add more water. Keep in mind that the beans will thicken upon standing, and chilling.

For the corn tortillas:

2 1/2 cups Masa
1/2 teaspoon salt
(about) 2 cups warm water

Mix masa and salt together in a bowl. Add water slowly as you mix with other hand. Dough should feel moist and spongy. A good test is to take some out and make a ball. Flatten it against a hard surface with your palm. If the edges crack, you need more water. Divide into 12 pieces, roll into balls, and cover with a damp towel until you are ready to use. Roll each out into a 6 inch circle (or close enough). Don't worry if they look shaggy around the edges, they will be fine. Heat a skillet (I use cast iron for this) over medium high and add a few drops of oil that has a high smoking point (again, I used corn for this). Fry a minute or so on each side until they are nicely browned, adding more oil if needed. Drain on a rack over a baking sheet.

Put it together:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I used two 9 inch cake tins to bake these, but you could do it in a tray like a casserole if you prefer.

Lay a tortilla in the bottom. Cover with grated cheese of your choice (I used Swiss and cheddar) and top with beans. Stack another tortialla on and repeat until you reach the top of the pan. The last layer should be cheese. At this point, top with salsa if you like (I did) Make the second batch in the other pan. Place both pans on a baking sheet to catch any spills. Bake about 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

For the Sweet Potatoes:

Look, the frying pan is already dirty, you might as well shallow fry some potatoes. Earlier in the day, bake a large sweet potato until it is tender, but not mushy soft. Cool, then slice into rounds. Dip rounds in beaten egg yolk, then coarse dry breadcrumbs. Chill 30 minutes before frying in about 1/2 inch of oil.

No comments: