Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tortillas in Black Bean Sauce

We love many things at Picante, but our favorite brunch item hands-down is the enfrijoladas, a homey dish made of their handmade tortillas smothered in black bean sauce and drizzled with crema. We decided to attempt enfrijoladas using our new favorite Cook's Illustrated method for cooking beans: brining them overnight in salt water. The brining allows salt flavor to fully penetrate the beans, leaving them tender and delicious. Throwing the beans into the slow-cooker once they've been brined saves active cooking time and develops a rich sauce.

3 tablespoons table salt
2 cups dried black beans, picked over and washed
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
3 cups vegetable stock
10 corn tortillas

For toppings:
wedges of lime
chopped cilantro
fire-roasted chiles or salsa
crumbled queso fresco or cotija

First, stir the salt in 4 quarts (16 cups) cold water in the slow-cooker vessel and add the beans. Let the beans soak overnight, at least 8 hours. In the morning, drain beans, rinse well, and return to the slow-cooker with the cumin, butter, garlic, stock and 5 cups water. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.

Puree the beans and their liquid in small batches in a blender. Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet or in the microwave. Douse the tortillas well with black bean sauce and fold into quarters. Serve immediately, topped with lime, cilantro, spicy stuff, and cheese.

If you're saving any to eat later, wait to add the sauce until just before serving.