Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Sauce
I love good Mexican food and I recently bought myself Diana Kennedy’s The Essential Cuisines of Mexico hoping to gain some insight. The book is beautiful, the recipes look amazing, but it intimidated me to no end. I figured, similar to Italian food, Mexican food comes from poverty and would therefore be as simple as Italian food. Essentially using the same ingredients to create completely different things. This is true for Mexican food, but the techniques are different, as well as the ingredients.
I figured that the best way to get over myself and my intimidation of this wonderful book of recipes was to mix a bit of the tex-mex that most Americans consider Mexican, with some of Diana Kennedy’s techniques. Good launch pad. I used the recipe for the salsa de tomate verde from the recipes for enchiladas verdes de san luis potosì, which called for chicken and a different way of making the enchiladas than my simple, pop them in the oven for half an hour. The results were wonderful. The salsa was delicious, I had never worked with tomatillos before and they have such a beautifully fresh flavor.
I made a black bean filling, the same way that I always make black beans, which is how I learned to make them from my mother. I’ve always loved black beans with green salsa, or really with anything, black beans win as my favorite bean and since cilantro was almost impossible to find in Italy, and, in my opinion, essential to black beans, I missed them over the past 5 years.
Black Bean Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
- 2 cups dried black beans
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- lots of water
If you are using dried beans, be sure to soak them overnight in abundant water. Drain the water after soaking them and cook them with fresh water.
Alice Waters suggests flavoring beans after the beans are tender, this makes it easier to skim off the foam and makes them tastier. I may try this the next time I make beans, but I have always sautéed the onions, carrots and celery before adding the beans. You could always sauté them separately and then add them to the beans after they are tender. I will leave that up to you.
Heat a wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and diced onions. Allow the onions to caramelize a bit before adding the carrots and celery. Once the carrots and celery have sautéed a bit add the black beans, stirring them to absorb the flavors before adding the water. You want the water to be about an inch above the beans to create space between the beans so that they don’t stick. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Allow to simmer, stirring frequently for at least an hour. After an hour, taste a bean to see if it is done, you don’t want them to be undercooked.
When the beans are done, add salt to taste and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside for enchiladas.
- 2 cups cooked tomate verde, drained (see below)
- 4 serrano chiles (I used half of a jalapeño since my husband doesn’t take well to too much heat)
- 3 sprigs cilantro (a lot more!)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 garlic clove
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp sour cream
Remove the husks from the tomatillos, wash them and place them on an ungreased cast iron skillet or grill pan, cook them over medium heat, turning from time to time, until they are fairly soft and slightly charred.
Blend the tomate verde with the chiles, cilantro, milk, garlic and salt until smooth. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the sauce over fairly high heat until reduced and seasoned – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the sour cream and set aside.
- 6 flour or corn tortillas (depending on the size of the tortillas, corn tortillas are more traditional for this recipe and are smaller than most flour tortillas, use as many as will fill the dish)
- 6 ounces of queso fresco
- cilantro for garnish
- sour cream
- black beans
- salsa verde
Preheat the oven to 350°. Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil at the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Crumble a few tbsp of queso fresco in a tortilla, spread the black beans in the tortilla and roll it up, placing it in the baking dish. Repeat with the following 5 tortillas, filling in the entire dish. Pour in the salsa verde and smother the tortillas.
Bake for 3o minutes.
Plate the enchiladas and sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro. Serve immediately with sour cream on the side.