A creamy, savory black bean puree drenches enchiladas filled with queso fresco in this warming and hearty dish. Avocado leaf serves a similar purpose as a bay leaf—imparting deep flavor before being removed prior to serving, leaving a faint fennel-like flavor behind.

Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins



  • 1 pound dried black beans

  • 5 cups water, plus more for soaking beans

  • 1 small white onion, peeled

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed

  • 2 dried avocado leaves or 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 epazote sprig, rinsed and roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoon) or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt


  • 1 chile de árbol, stemmed and toasted

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

  • 12 (6-inch) white corn tortillas

  • Fine sea salt, to taste

  • 8 ounces Oaxaca cheese or low-moisture mozzarella, torn into strands

  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

  • Thinly sliced white onion and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Make the black beans

  1. Place beans in a large pot; add water to cover by at least 2 inches. Let soak at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Drain beans.

  2. Combine drained beans, 5 cups water, onion, garlic, and avocado leaves in a large pot; bring to a boil over medium. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and creamy, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remove from heat. Remove and discard onion, garlic, and avocado leaves. Stir in epazote and salt. Drain beans, reserving cooking broth.

Make the enfrijoladas

  1. Combine chile, 2 cups cooked beans, and 2 1/2 cups bean cooking broth in a blender. (Reserve remaining 4 cups beans and any remaining cooking broth for another use.) Process mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

  2. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet over medium. Fry tortillas, 1 at a time, until soft and pliable, 10 to 20 seconds per side; transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Set aside.

  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add bean mixture; cook, stirring often, until simmering, 4 to 5 minutes. (The consistency should be similar to heavy cream; stir in water or additional reserved cooking broth, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed to loosen.) Remove from heat; season with salt to taste.

  4. Place 1 tortilla in hot bean mixture in pan; let soften, about 15 seconds per side. Place tortilla on a serving plate, and fold in half. Repeat process with remaining 11 tortillas, placing 3 folded tortillas on each of 4 plates.

  5. Spoon remaining hot bean mixture evenly over tortillas (about 1/3 cup each). Sprinkle evenly with Oaxaca cheese and queso fresco; garnish with sliced onion and chopped parsley.

    Enfrijoladas Recipe
    The Ingalls

Make Ahead

Black beans can be cooked up to 4 days in advance; bean puree can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate both; thin bean puree with a splash of water if needed. Tortillas can be fried up to 4 hours in advance.


Avocado leaves and epazote may be purchased at Latin markets or online.

Serve With

Lightly malty Mexican lager: Modelo Especial. (Turn the Modelo into a michelada using Guelaguetza I Love Micheladas mix.)

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