Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pinto bean stew with avocado and tortillas

This was long known as the famous "Cheesy Beany" dish, as baptized by Jocelyn. Its history began when we lived together in a garret (really? sort of) in Milwaukee and often needed a cheap, easy, tasty vegetarian dinner. Over time it has morphed into what Brian refers to as our version of that family classic, Taco Night. It's hard to describe all the components as it undoubtedly changes depending on what's in the fridge or pantry at any given moment. I used to occasionally top it with cornbread and make a yogurt-lime sauce on the side which was delicious (just mix natural plain yogurt to taste with juice & zest of 1 lime, salt and pepper), but the version I made last night is how it tends to look these days:

Sautéed 1 small, diced onion in olive oil until soft, then added 1 small, diced red pepper. Let cook down over fairly high heat until soft and browned, then added 4 minced cloves garlic. Sprinkled 1 tablespoon chile powder into the hot oiled pan to allow flavor to bloom, then added 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stirred well, then added 2 tablespoons mole paste, mashed it up and added about 1/2 cup of water to reconstitute it into a thick sauce. Stirred everything together then added maybe 1/4 cup of minced pickled jalapenos, 1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1 16 ounce well-rinsed and drained can of pinto beans and a drizzle of wine vinegar. Covered and let simmer together, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Then stirred in 1/2 cup of crumbled queso fresco, thought it still seemed a bit too liquidy, so mashed up some of the beans and removed the lid to let it reduce to a scoopable consistency.

Meanwhile, sliced 2 avocados and tossed them with juice of 1/2 lime, salt and pepper and warmed a stack of tortillas in the oven. When the beans were ready, we ate them rolled up in tortillas with the avocado. Simple and delicious.


j.bird said...


actually, mmmmm... cheesy beany. we're still doing the cornbread version up here in the north, but i like the tortilla variation. also, your avocado side reminds me of the time that you just sliced up some fresh mozzarella and avocado; oiled, salted and peppered them; and then let me eat them for a snack. that was good.

j.bird said...

and yes, it was a spiritual garret. "please, sir! I'd like some more..."

carla said...

I removed the is annoying but fortunately infrequent.

I consider the Ivanhoe tower room you lived in to be sort of garret-ish. But I didn't start making cheesy beany until we lived in the ground floor apartment, so maybe it doesn't count.