Black Bean and Avocado Tacos Fritas

OK. I first have to confess, this recipe can seem a bit involved or rambling. But I’m used to the pace of working with dried beans and I find the preparation of them both fun, soothing, and flexible. You can substitute canned beans as well of course.

1 1/2 cups dried black beans, sorted and rinsed
4 ounces Mexican melting cheese, shredded (you may use monterey jack)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons oil (olive or canola)
6 dried chile pods
10 corn tortillas
5 radishes
oil for frying

For the guacamole:
3 ripe avocados
Juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 clove garlic

Prepare the black beans.* As they cook, make the guacamole: first remove the avacado flesh and mash coarsely with a fork. Mince the garlic and add to avocado along with the lemon joice, cayenne, garlic salt, and garlic.

Preheat oven to 350. Take a large dishcloth, wet, and wring out all the water. Wrap cloth around tortillas and place in a casserole dish. Put dish in oven.

When beans are tender, drain any remaining excess liquid. Add butter, oil, chile pods, and salt to taste; bring to a gentle boil. When beans and tortillas are ready, take one steamed tortilla and put about three tablespoons bean filling and a small handful cheese. Fold over and place in a hot pan with oil. Fry both sides until crispy and cheese has melted; but in a warm oven on a baking stone while frying the rest of the tacos.

Remove and top with guacamole and thinly sliced radish. Suggested serving accompaniments: either of my roasted jalapeno recipes (whole or seedless), sour cream, tapatio, and a pickled cabbage slaw.

* Soak overnight for best results (3 cups water to each cup dried beans). You can also use the “Quick Soak” method (which is what I do when I forget to soak beans the night before). Either soaking method aside, a couple hours before you want to eat, rinse the beans and add the same ratio of water back in a large pot. Heat to an active simmer and watch the beans – they should take an hour and a half or so. Two things are important while cooking the beans: add liquid if you need to to keep the beans submerged. Secondly, don’t add any salt or spices until the beans are tender. You can then drain again if needed and add spices and oil / butter as the recipe here indicates.

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