Tex-Mex Enchiladas With Dad's Porky Refried Beans

June 21, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

My dad used to play football at Austin High School—it’s practically a requirement down in Texas. While he loved playing, he hated that he had to work after practice and games. He and my uncle used to work at this Mexican restaurant, El Patio, on the Drag (Guadalupe Street, near the University of Texas campus). They sold very typical Tex-Mex food—chile con queso, guacamole, salsa and chips, crispy tacos and enchiladas.

I went to UT and would eat at El Patio pretty regularly, almost always Those enchiladas were amazing. Even after I moved to New York, when I would come home to visit, my mom and dad and my uncle Joe would meet us at the restaurant. And even after 50 years, they still stayed in touch with everyone that worked there.

Now, El Patio is gone now but my dad still knows how to make their famous enchiladas. When I went back to visit him a few weeks ago, he showed me how so that I could make them for you. —Rick Martinez

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Tex-Mex Enchiladas With Dad's Porky Refried Beans
  • Enchiladas
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rendered lard, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck (20% fat)
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Porky Beans & Pico de Gallo
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans pinto beans, or equivalent amount of freshly cooked beans and their liquid
  • 1/4 cup rendered lard
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast flour, stirring frequently, until it’s golden brown and smells like toasted nuts, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
  2. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons lard and heat. Add ground beef and cook, stirring to break up clumps, until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove beef and reserve drippings in skillet.
  3. To the same skillet over medium-high heat, add tomato, onion, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Season with salt to taste and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to stick to the skillet, about 8 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and toasted flour and toss until well combined.. Add broth to the mixture, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil; continue to whisk until no floury lumps remain. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until chili sauce has thickened and beef is tender, 30 to 35 minutes; taste again and season with salt as needed.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425°F. Using 2 tablespoons lard, brush both sides of each tortilla. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, cook tortillas until lightly browned and starting to crisp, about 1 minute per side. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. In the center of a 9x13" baking dish, spread 1 cup chili sauce lengthwise to cover the bottom. Dip both sides of each tortilla in chili sauce just to coat, then transfer to the baking sheet as you start assembling the enchiladas. . Working with one dipped tortilla at a time, scoop 3 tablespoons cheese and place down the center of tortilla. Fold one side of the tortilla over the filling, then continue to roll enchilada onto itself. Place the enchilada, seam side-down, in the prepared baking dish, and repeat with the rest of the tortillas and filling. Position the enchiladas vertically along the shorter side of the pan, so they’re nestled right up against each other. Top the enchiladas with remaining chili sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve enchiladas with pico de gallo and refried beans (recipes follow).
  7. To make the beans: Heat ¼ cup lard in a large skillet over high heat until very hot and wisps of smoke are visible, about 2 minutes. Add beans and their liquid (that's right—don't drain them!). Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Using a potato masher, smash beans until almost no whole beans remain and mixture is thick, smooth, and creamy, like the consistency of sour cream. Remove from heat, taste and season with salt if necessary, and let cool slightly; the refried beans will thicken as they sit.
  8. To make the pico de gallo: Gently toss tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl; season with salt. Let sit, uncovered, to let flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

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  • Liz Summers
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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

5 Reviews

Trip May 27, 2022
Although this recipe completely destroys the kitchen during prep and cooking. They are likely the best enchiladas and beans i have ever had. Bravo!
JulieB June 21, 2021
This was a hit at our house tonight! I’m from Austin and love El Patio. Can’t wait for Rick’s cookbook!
deedee1200 June 19, 2021
Was there a different El Patio? The one at 2938 Guadalupe is still there!
JulieB June 20, 2021
El Patio closed but reopened with new management. Very thankful it did!
Liz S. June 19, 2021
I have the sauce simmering right now! But, I will be making the rest tomorrow (including homemade tortillas as I live in NW Montana and cannot get fresh tortillas!) I know I should wait to comment, but I'll be back. Meanwhile ... wonderful video and I think I am in love with your Dad ... and you and Choco and your nails and shirts :) ... and aprons!!

I have a question ... I noticed an Instant Pot in your Dad's kitchen, but he made beans in a pot on the stove. I am guessing he feels the beans are better that way, but I was wondering as I have been using my Instant Pot for beans.