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Sides, Vegetarian


This is a tale of two Oaxacas--one deep in southern Mexico, the other in Los Angeles. The relationship between the two is so close that the Spanish-language newspaper El Oaxaqueno, which is published from offices on Wilshire Boulevard, is distributed ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours | Serves 6
  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 2 avocado leaves
  • 2 pasilla de Oaxaca chiles
  • 5 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 cup oil, divided
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves only, for garnish
  • 1/2 onion, sliced, for garnish

Step 1Rinse the beans, place in a saucepot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer, loosely covered, until tender, 1 hour. Drain, reserving the water. Set the beans aside.

Step 2Meanwhile, toast the avocado leaves and chiles in a skillet or on a griddle over high heat until fragrant, no more than 30 seconds. Set aside. Remove the chiles to a bowl of hot water to soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Step 3Place the beans, the avocado leaves, chiles, 2 cloves of garlic and just enough of the reserved bean cooking water to facilitate blending in a blender. Blend well until pureed, working in batches, if necessary.

Step 4Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 3 cloves of garlic and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the onion and garlic. Add the ground bean mixture and enough water (use the bean cooking water, if any remains) to thin to the consistency of an enchilada sauce, cooking until blended and heated through.

Step 5Meanwhile, stack the tortillas, wrap them in wax paper or parchment paper and microwave to soften, 2 minutes. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup oil in a skillet to 350 degrees. Fold the tortillas in quarters and fry, one at a time, for a few seconds each side. Do not allow them to become crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Step 6To serve, place the folded tortillas, a few at a time, in the bean mixture just until softened. Do not let them soak too long or they will dissolve. Place the tortillas on a plate, spoon additional sauce over them, top with the cheese and garnish with some of the parsley and onion slices.

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