PATI'S MEXICAN TABLE

April 16, 2010 1:50 PM
Queso Fresco: Enfrijoladas

We came back home exhausted, after being away for a couple weeks in Canada for a big family reunion. Though we had delicious meals, trying all sorts of Canadian fare, as soon as we walked in I was ready to make some comforting, home tasting food.

Few things taste more like home to me, than beans. In Mexico there is always, always, a simmering pot of beans cooking at some point during the week in any kitchen. As beans need to be cooked for a long time, they infuse the kitchen with a moist, earthy and cozy aroma, that remains even after the beans are ready.

Of course one can make more than a thousand things with a batch of Frijoles de Olla, or Beans from the Pot. But one of the things that are the most simple, yet comforting, asides from scooping them with corn tortillas, are Enfrijoladas.   Filling and tasty, Enfrijoladas wrap some of the main flavors and textures from Mexico's cuisine in their fold.

The soft corn tortillas, that you can make or buy ready made at the stores (if you buy them, go for the unrefrigerated ones). The rich, straightforward and creamy seasoned Bean Puree, which also goes by Frijoles Colados, in which they are dipped in and smothered everywhere...

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The thick, tangy and fresh taste of the Crema Fresca, or Mexican cream, that you drizzle on them after you fold them on a plate...
 
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The salty, crumbly, Ranchero take of the Queso Fresco (Remember I was going to tell you many things that you can make with Queso Fresco?)...

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And of course, to top that off, you can slice some ripe luscious avocado on top. And if you feel like it, have a serving of any salsa, or Chipotles in Adobo on the side to drizzle along.


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Enfrijoladas, as are most Mexican antojos or cravings, are truly versatile.  They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can be a main dish or a yummy side to grilled chicken or meat.

They are so, so, comforting, the I was once asked what I would serve the Mexican President
in times of distress if I had the opportunity: It has to be Enfrijoladas, I said.


ENFRIJOLADAS
Serves 8

INGREDIENTS
4 cups frijoles colados, or seasoned and pureed beans (in Basics/Cooking Techniques section)
16 corn tortillas
1 cup Mexican cream or heavy cream
1 cup Queso Fresco, or Fresh Cheese, or Farmers cheese, or a mild Feta
Avocado slices, optional

Chipotles in adobo sauce, optional

TO PREPARE
Heat a comal or dry skillet over medium heat.

Heat the pureed beans in a medium cooking pot to a gentle simmer.

Taking one tortilla at a time, heat on the comal or skillet for about 30 seconds per side. Take the tortilla with a pair of tongs and immerse it in the bean puree. Place it on a plate, fold it as if it were a quesadilla or a turnover. Drizzle as much cream and sprinkle as much cheese as you like.

You can also top it with some avocado slices and a bit of chipotles in adobo sauce.