Pork and Bean Enchiladas, Oaxacan-style

Ok, I admit that I am using the term “enchilada” somewhat loosely because in this dish the tortillas are layered rather than rolled. In the past I have made pork enchiladas with just the pork picadillo but I wanted to add more vegetable content to the dish. The addition of low-fat refried beans makes this a nicely balance one-dish meal especially if accompanied by a green salad.

This recipe that I adapted from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen (Scribner, NY 1996) consists of four parts: the sauce, the beans, the picadillo, and the final dish. Any or all of the first three can be done ahead. And for that matter you could use canned refried beans. If you do make any parts ahead remember to bake the final dish a bit longer to ensure that it is heated through.

Tomato-Chipotle Sauce


2 or 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 28-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes, preferably no-salt added

2 to 4 (or more) canned chipotles en adobo with a tablespoon of the adobo

1 Tbsp. oil or lard (the latter being more authentic)

Salt to taste


Put the unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat and roast, turning regularly, until soft and partly blackened. Let cool, peel, and put into the bowl of a food processor. Add the tomatoes and chipotles to the bowl and process to a medium puree.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil is nearly smoking, dump in the puree all at once. Stir as it sizzles then cooks down for about 5 minutes. It is done when the bubbles leave little craters in the surface of the sauce when they burst. Taste and season with salt.

Refried Beans


8 ounces dried pinto beans

4 cups carnitas cooking liquid or water

1 Tbsp. oil or lard

Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse the beans and pick over for discolored ones or small stones. Place in a pressure cooker along with the liquid. Cook on high pressure (15 psi) for 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes then release the pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions. Drain the beans reserving the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the beans and ½ cup cooking liquid. Mash with a potato masher, adding more liquid as needed until you have a slightly lumpy thick paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Picadillo Oaxaqueño


1 Tbsp. oil or lard

8 ounces shredded carnitas

1 medium onion, chopped

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ cup currants or raisins

1 cup tomato-chipotle sauce


Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and fry the onion and pork together stirring regularly until the mixture is crispy, about 15 minutes. Add the cinnamon, pepper, cloves, raisins, and sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

The Enchiladas


14 corn tortillas

The tomato-chipotle sauce

The refried beans

The picadillo

4 ounces shredded cheddar or jack cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°.

Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen towel and place in a large steamer. Bring to a boil for one minute then let steam off heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut all but 3 tortillas in half. (You will need only 12 but I find that a couple always stick to the towel.)

Put a light coating of sauce in an oven-proof pan roughly 8 inches by 12 inches by 2 inches deep. Arrange the tortilla halves along the outside edges of the dish, cut side out, and finish with a whole tortilla in the middle, using a total of 4 tortillas. Spread on the beans and a small amount of sauce, about ½ cup. Arrange another layer of tortillas on top of the beans and spread with the picadillo and another ½ cup of sauce. Cover with the last layer of tortillas, the rest of the sauce, and the cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is slightly brown.


2 responses to “Pork and Bean Enchiladas, Oaxacan-style

  1. Stacey Gould & Eliot Fiks December 9, 2010 at 09:22

    You’re recipes look delicious!

    • Leo Cotnoir December 9, 2010 at 11:05

      Thanks! That is quite a compliment coming from you! I hope to see you on Sunday. Congrats on 30 years! That is pretty amazing in the Binghamton restaurant business.

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