Thursday, July 7, 2016

Crispy, Cheesy Black Bean Tacos

I feel that I've spent far too much time this summer doing very responsible, adult things, such as paying bills and scheduling/attending an unholy amount of appointments. Thus, this is the perfect time to post this delicious and spectacularly unsophisticated recipe, which, quite honestly, is not even a real recipe. This is more what the New York Times calls a "No-Recipe Recipe", with loose measurements and easily scaled portions. You should feel free to add and swap ingredients to your heart's content.

There's no time to take good pictures when crunchy delicious things await! Not pictured: the taco I had already shoved down my throat before I realized these would be good for the blog.

These tacos were cobbled together from a few things I'd seen online over the years, plus some vague ideas floating around in my head and the need to use up awkward amounts of various Mexican-ish ingredients (see what I mean about this not being a real recipe?). As with most dishes that come together in a half hour (max - and I include the time it takes to chop vegetables, because people who don't are evil), this was totally delicious and a whole lot of fun. Crunchy corn tortilla + crunchy cheese on the outside + melty cheese on the could it not be?

Hopefully there should be some fun seasonal recipes inspired by my garden (which is growing at a rate that would be alarming if I was remotely responsible) soon. My balcony is bursting with green, fragrant goodness and I have some teeny baby tomatoes at last! As soon as they're ripe, I have plans for a 100% homegrown/baked panzanella. But in the meantime, tacos!

Crispy, Cheesy Black Bean Tacos
Yield: 3 tacos (which I found to be a light lunch serving - this is very easily scaled up)

1 scant cup black beans
2 T finely diced red onion
2 T finely diced poblano (or jalapeƱo, etc.) pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 corn tortillas
2-3 T chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth)
A few palmsful of shredded cheddar cheese (Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack would be delightful as well, I suspect)
Cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, black pepper, etc. for seasoning
Sour cream, for serving (optional)

  1. Cook the onion, pepper, and garlic over medium heat in a bit of olive oil until softened. Add the black beans and chicken broth and cook, mashing beans slightly so they stick together a bit but still have some texture.
  2. Once the broth has largely evaporated and the beans are soft and cohesive, remove to a bowl or plate and wipe out the skillet (no need to clean it).
  3. Return the skillet to the stove over medium to medium-high heat with 1-2 T oil (I used olive oil). Working somewhat quickly once the oil is hot, drop a pile of cheese about the size and rough shape (no need to be exact here) of half a tortilla into the pan. Place a corn tortilla on top so that it half covers the cheese and add a few tbsp of filling and some more shredded cheese on the side that's covering the cheese.
  4. Fold the un-cheesed side of the tortilla over and hold it in place with a spatula or tongs until the cheese on the bottom is crisped and starting to brown (it will also smell amazing, so you can use your nose here). Flip carefully and cook until the tortilla is golden and crisp. Repeat with remaining tacos and serve warm with sour cream dolloped on top.
Happy summer!

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