This might have been my favorite meal growing up. We inventively called it “Tortillas, Cheese, and Beans.” If the tortilla was a big flour tortilla, we rolled it up and you might have recognized the dish as a “burrito.” If the tortillas were smaller corn tortillas, we folded them into what are commonly known as “tacos.” But we called any variation “Tortillas, Cheese, and Beans.” And in this era of Korean-Hawaiian-Fusion-Tacos, perhaps that clarity is helpful. Call it what you will, if you have some seasoned black beans around, this meal can be on the table in a few minutes. And if you don’t, a can of refried beans will take you back to my childhood.
Did you make your big pot of black beans? Do you have a few quarts stashed in the freezer? Good. This week we’re going to use them. Or if not, this recipe is also a great way to doctor up canned beans. In fact, that’s how I first got started using this recipe–nudging my canned beans toward deliciousness before I started cooking my own from scratch.
Busy home cooks know not to be afraid of leftovers. This week’s recipes will include these beans, a pot of quinoa, and ideas for combining the two into black bean tacos and a taco salad. Cooking this way (using flavors you love and don’t mind eating a few times in a week!), you will reap the benefits of big-batch cooking. In a week, you’ll go through a this pot of beans, another pot of grain, some good salsas, your entire bunch of cilantro, and maybe even a little tub of sour cream that won’t be left molding in the fridge after a single use.
These beans can be served as a side dish with any Mexican food (like these fish tacos, for example), as a component of a recipe (try them layered into huevos rancheros), or as a main course, preferable nestled alongside some flavorful rice (or quinoa) and topped with a good salsa.