One of the most delicious parts of Mexican cuisine is the sparkling array of peppers used in dishes. We recently got a new Mexican restaurant in south Fayetteville and they have a salsa bar that is second to none. A few weeks ago, they debuted a bright orange hot salsa that knocked my taste buds out. It was a bit on the spicy side even for me, but I could not resist slathering it over my tamales for lunch. This sauce inspired me to come up with my own milder sauce for homemade enchiladas. You can adjust the heat level by simply adding more or less cayenne pepper.
Today was filled with meetings and errands. Spring time in education can easily get manic if I don’t make a conscious effort to plan and say no when my plate is full. Even though I was short on time today, I did not want to back out on a good meal. There are several shortcuts you can take with this dish such as not boiling the dried peppers or cooking the onions for just a few minutes, but patience pays off in the final product. One of my rules of thumb for cooking is that you have to cook down onions. I cannot think of a dish I have made where cooking the onions down didn’t add a lot of flavor. When cooking them down, keep the heat at medium so they will not brown too fast.
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped in small chunks
- 3-4 dried guajillo peppers (or other dark mild Mexican pepper)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces grated jack cheese
- 10-12 corn organic corn tortillas
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- sour cream for topping
- Heat oil in sauce pan to medium heat and place sliced onions in pan. Cook onions for ten minutes until glassy and size is reduced by half. Add garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Remove from heat. Cook bell pepper for five minutes and remove from heat.
- Remove seeds and stems from guajillo peppers and place into a small pot on stove. Add two cups water and bring to boil. Simmer for five minutes and remove from heat.
- Place onion, garlic, peppers with water, cumin, oregano, bouillon and tomato paste in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour liquid mixture into a sauce pan and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half and sauce is desired consistency.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix black beans and about six ounces of the cheese in a medium bowl. Reserve two ounces of cheese for topping. Melt 1/2 teaspoon of butter in a sauce pan and cook corn tortillas, two at a time, 30 seconds per side. Place tortillas on a plate. Place two tablespoons of the bean and cheese mixture in a tortilla and top with one tablespoon of rice. Wrap the tortilla and place it with the seam down in a 9×11 casserole dish. Fill all tortillas in this manner and place tightly together in casserole dish. Spread bell peppers over tortillas and pour sauce evenly over the tortillas. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over dish and bake for additional five minutes. Top it with a dollop of sour cream and let your taste buds go to work!