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A Día de Los Muertos Celebration

Enfrijoladas al Estilo de Oaxaca

Iliana de la Vega, of El Naranjo, in Austin

Enfrijoladas, which traces its origins to pre-Columbian times, is still one of the most popular versions of enchiladas in Mexico. This recipe, which comes from the state of Oaxaca, features frijoles, or beans.

Makes 12 enchiladas


3 Oaxacan pasilla chiles (or morita chiles), cleaned, destemmed, and deseeded
3 cups cooked black beans, plus bean cooking liquid as needed to thin the sauce (recipe below)
2 dried avocado leaves, if available
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (lard is traditional) for frying the sauce
Kosher salt to taste

Place the prepared chiles a few pieces at a time on a comal (or iron griddle) over medium heat and dry roast until fragrant, about 30 seconds per side. Place the chiles in hot water and soak for 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain and discard the soaking liquid. Place chiles, beans, avocado leaves (if using), and 3⁄4 cup bean cooking liquid in a blender. Purée, adding a little more cooking liquid or water as needed to make a smooth, light sauce.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bean sauce and bring to a simmer. Season with salt to taste. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and keep warm. (Stir occasionally to keep a skin from forming on the surface. A little more bean cooking liquid or water may need to be added from time to time to maintain a light sauce consistency.)

Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

1 pound dried black beans
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
Kosher salt as needed
Optional: 1 dried avocado leaf, a sprig of epazote, 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or crushed dried chile pequins, to taste

Sort and rinse the beans. Place in a deep pot and cover with water. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface. When all foam has been removed, add the chopped onion and garlic.

Simmer uncovered about 2 hours, or until tender, adding water as necessary to keep the beans barely covered with liquid. When the beans are tender, salt to taste and stir in the lard or vegetable oil. (If using optional avocado leaf, epazote sprig, dried Mexican oregano, or dried chile pequins, add during the last half hour of cooking.) Continue cooking until the beans are very tender and broth slightly thickened.


1 medium white onion, peeled, small dice
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
Chopped cilantro, to taste

Place diced onion in a sieve and rinse with cold water. Blot dry with paper towels. Mix onion, queso fresco, and cilantro together for the filling. Set aside until needed.


12 corn tortillas

Avocado slices, to taste
1⁄3 medium white onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings, rinsed and blotted dry
1⁄3 cup (40 grams) queso fresco, crumbled
Cilantro leaves, to taste

To soften the tortillas, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel, place in a plastic storage bag (do not seal), and microwave on high for 45–60 seconds. Place a spoonful of warm bean sauce on a tortilla, sprinkle with filling mixture, roll, and place on a warm individual plate, 3 enchiladas per serving. When all enchiladas are plated, top generously with more sauce. Garnish with avocado slices, onion rings, queso fresco, and cilantro leaves.



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