Enfrijoladas Can Save Cinco de Mayo

May  2, 2016

The humble tortilla needs very little primping to make a great meal: Scramble eggs and enfold to get a taco; stuff with leftovers and you're halfway to enchiladas; fold like an envelope and hit the griddle for a quesadilla. (Pasta, by comparison, begins to look quite the one-trick pony when it comes to the starch that repeatedly saves dinner.)

Couple the likelihood that one of your meals this week will include a tortilla with the fact that refried beans are the quiet star of any great divey Mexican restaurant combo platter, and you've got enfrijoladas. Yes, they are bean-based enchiladas. Yes, they do well with an egg.

The quality of your beans and tortillas will determine the quality of your enfrijoladas, seeing as they are the two primary ingredients, but you can get halfway to fully homemade by adding canned beans to toasty garlic and spices and cooking that down into a quick mash.

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So when life gives you half a can of leftover refried beans, thin them out with a bit of broth and drag a few toasted corn tortillas through and be done. Or spend more time on the cause: Cook dried, soaked beans on the stovetop, using less water or broth than you normally would and as many aromatics as you please, and once soft, mash that up into a thick mess before coating tortillas.

These bean-smothered tortillas can be folded into saucy pockets or stuffed enchilada-style with meat. Scorching them over a burner before covering with bean sauce will give the tortilla a welcome toastiness, and you could even fry them instead, for even more lasting crispness under the blanket of beans.

However you top them—with quick pickled vegetables, a splatter of hot sauce, cotija, cilantro, or a sunny side-up egg—eat your enfrijoladas hot. They'll only get soggy the longer you let them sit (and anyway, why wait?). A few shakes of hot sauce and a lime in a cold beer will sub in for a proper michelada, if you're pulling this off as a last minute way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

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Smaug May 3, 2016
Does Cinco de Maio really need saving? Most people who are interested in Mexican food consider it a cooking- or at least eating- holiday and are glad to put some effort into it. Would you save Thanksgiving with turkey burgers?
Taste O. May 2, 2016
Great stuff. Am doing Cinco de Mayo in France (which means I have to make everything myself from scratch--ain't in Paris).