Black Bean Chilaquilies with Smoky Chipotle
Vegetables / All Seasons / Rick Bayless / Serves: 4

225g dried black beans, cleaned
About 1.5 liters chicken or beef broth, or water
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 sprigs of epazote
3 canned chipotle chillies en adobo, plus 2 teaspoons tomatoey adobo from the can
Salth, about 1 teaspoon depending on the saltiness of the broth
225g tortilla chips
125ml thick cream, creme fresh or sour cream thinned with a little milk
25g finely crumbled Mexican queso anejo, dry feta or Parmesan
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, stoned and cut into 1cm cubes for garnish


The beans may be cooked several days in advance (ie: stage one).


Mexican Kitchen (1998), Absolute Press, Bath, Pgs 206-7.

1. The Beans
Rinse the beans, then scoop into a medium (4.5 liter) pot. Measure in 1.2 liters of broth or water, the onion, garlic and 1 sprig of the epazote. Cut the chipotle chillies length ways in half, scrape out the seeds and slide into thin strips. Add 1/3 of the chilies to the beans; set aside the remainder. Bring the beans to the boil, then simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat, until thoroughly tender, about 2 hours. (If necessary, add a little extra water during the cooking to keep the beans completely submerged)

In batches in a food processor or loosely covered blender, puree the bean mixture and all the liquid; transfer to a large (25-30cm) frying pan. Stir in enough broth or water (it may take an extra cup or so) to bring the bean sauce to the consistency of a thin cream soup. Taste and season with salt.

2. The Chilaquiles:
Bring the black bean sauce to the boil over medium heat. Add the tortilla chips, 8 good sized leaves plucked from 2 sprigs of the epazote and another third of the chipotle chillies. Stir to coat the chips well, then rapidly boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the chips have softened (but still retain a little chewiness), and the sauce has reduced to a medium consistency, 2 to 3 minutes for thinner chips and 4 to 5 minutes for thicker chips.

Scoop the chilaquiles onto a warm, deep serving platter (a 25cm pie dish or small Mexican cazuela works well). Drizzle with the cream, sprinkle with cheese, and the remaining chipotle chillies, dot with the avocado and lastly strew with a few roughly chopped epazote leaves. Serve without hesitation.