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(Open Face Tortillas with Refried Black Beans) 

I remember first trying these in the delightful green pottery village of Santa Maria Atzompa outside Oaxaca.  We take our culinary tour to watch these being made and sample, before shopping for their beautiful pottery. 

Yield:  6 main dish or 18 appetizer servings 

Clayuda Preparation 

3 cups canned black beans, drained (2 15-oz. cans)

1/3 cup lard or vegetable oil, divided

2 cloves Mexican or large garlic, minced

1 1/2 dozen white corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled white cheese—queso blanco or feta

2 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle

1 small bunch cilantro sprigs

1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream thinned with a bit of milk

1 cup salsa fresca or chopped pickled jalapenos 

  1. Make refried beans by melting 1 tablespoon of lard in a heavy skillet. Then add garlic and sauté until it becomes slightly tinged or very light brown.   Add beans to skillet, reserving most of the juice.  Use only enough juice to gain a thick mixture like pudding.  Keep warm.

    2. Meanwhile heat the lard or oil in a small skillet. For main dish size, fry each tortilla until crisp.  For            appetizers, cut each tortilla in quarters, cutting almost to the center, but leaving the center intact.            Fry each whole, tap center of tortilla when crisp to break apart; then place on paper towels to                  drain.  The tortillas can also be baked (see note below).  

  1. To assemble, place the tortillas on the desired serving plates or platters and smear with the refried beans, dividing among the crisp tortillas. Top with a sprinkle of cheese, green onion, cilantro sprigs and a drizzle of crème fraiche; dividing the toppings among all the tortillas.  Serve with salsa to drizzle over the top. 

Note:  To cut fat, bake the tortillas at 425° F for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp, placing them on a cookie sheet and using a smaller sheet centered on top to weigh them down for the first five minutes.  Then remove smaller pan and bake until crisp – about 5 minutes more.


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