Cooking Like A Mexican

BY: ALEJANDRA SARACHAGA

Enfrijoladas – a Mexican delight and an easy to make tortilla, bean and cheese casserole

Warm and delicious, beans make a great side dish. Plus, the house smells wonderful while you’re cooking them. Beans have a lot of health benefits, too. They are high in fiber, protein, B vitamins and antioxidants and low in sugar. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, help with weight control, and they help you poop. Included, of course, is the super healthy, super versatile black bean. From a single, one-cup serving of black beans you get nearly 15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.

Before washing black beans, spread them out on a light colored surface to check for, and remove, small stones, debris or damaged beans. Then place the beans in a strainer, rinsing them thoroughly under cool running water. To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, black beans should be presoaked.

There are two basic methods for presoaking. Start by placing beans in a saucepan and add two to three cups of water per cup of beans. The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take the pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours. The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator so the beans will not ferment. Before cooking the beans, regardless of method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.

There are two ways to cook black beans: on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker. For the stovetop method, add three cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of beans. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. If any foam develops, you can skim it off during the simmering process. Black beans generally take about one and one-half hours to become tender using this method. They can also be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about one-half hour.

Do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked since adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.

If you are short on time, you can always use canned beans in your recipes. Rinse them after opening the can to remove unnecessary salts or additives. This recipe is for Enfrijoladas Mexicana, a traditional tortilla, bean and cheese casserole dish I am sure you will love.

Ingredients for 20 enfrijoladas; plan for three or four per person:

2 cups of boiled beans

1/2 of a small white onion

Oil

1 cup of bean broth

Salt to taste

Chicken bouillon powder to taste

20 medium corn tortillas

Ground fresh white cheese

Thin white onion rings

Puree the beans with the half onion, the bean broth, salt, and chicken bouillon powder. Once you have this thick mixture pour it in a pan with a little bit of hot oil. Let it cook just a little and reserve. In another pan, pass the tortillas over the oil and then soak them in the mixture. Fold with tongs into quarters and place them on the plate. Repeat this to fix one plate at the time. Put some sour cream, ground cheese and onions on
top.