In the Berkshires, you won’t find very many Mexican restaurants. If we’re feeling like taking a scenic drive, we’ll head south on Route 7 to Xicohtencatl in Great Barrington. They have a delicious menu including some specialty margaritas (I recall a heavenly hibiscus margarita I enjoyed one sunny afternoon on their front porch). But aside from one or two other restaurants, it’s really on me to make Mexican food happen. And we love Mexican food. The flavors, the heat, the salsa, the guacamole, the chilies. The list goes on and on. I would say we eat a Mexican-inspired dish at least once or twice a week (and almost always have enough for leftovers). In my recent search for real food recipes, I came across two that piqued my interest–one for Cuban Beans and another for Beef Taquitos–and decided to combine them together, as the taquitos required two cups of cooked beans.
First things first. I have never cooked dry beans. Well, that’s not completely true. I once threw a bag of white beans in a slow cooker pork recipe. But other than that, I really had no idea what I was doing. I read somewhere that to put beans in a slow cooker the size of mine, you should have at least two pounds of dry beans. The taquito recipe only required two cups of cooked beans, but I thought – what the heck – dry beans are cheap, even the organic ones, and I had read they freeze well.
The black beans I bought at Guido’s were the only available organic black beans in the bulk bins, but these aren’t the black beans I’m used to eating. They were cream colored on the inside. I’ll make sure to look up what they are called the next time I am there.
So I began – a little too late in the evening – to pick over the beans, sorting out palmful by palmful the broken or discolored beans and setting them aside. Do you know how long it takes to sort 2.5 lbs. of beans? Perhaps I was being too picky…
Once you’ve picked over the beans, you’ll cover them with water. Make sure the bowl or pot you put them in gives them room to grow. They will absorb a lot of water overnight. In the morning, strain them in a colander (if there is any liquid remaining – mine had absorbed it all!) and then give them a good rinse in the sink.
Now you’re ready to start the slow cooker recipe for the beans! I have to admit, I read recipes really fast. I skim them to get a rough idea of the process and I scan the ingredient list, but I definitely have a problem with following directions. This time was no different. I placed the beans in my slow cooker, chopped up the onion and pepper and threw it on top of the beans, and then wondered what I was supposed to do with the olive oil. Oh! I’m supposed to sauté the veggies in the oil on the stovetop? Oh well. I know the slow cooker will make them nice and soft, so feel free to omit that step (and oil) just like I did! And don’t forget to add your onion peels to your soup stock freezer bag.
I also forgot to buy a tomato, so my beans were tomato free and still completely delicious. The cumin and coriander are really what make the dish, so be sure to have those seasonings on hand for the recipe (unless you don’t like them – then leave them out). I also didn’t feel like mincing the garlic, so I just gave it a good smash and sprinkled it on top. That’s the joy of cooking versus baking – a great deal more flexibility and creativity.
Now for the official recipe! Don’t forget that I doubled my recipe. If you want leftovers for other dishes or for the freezer (or if you’re using a large crockpot like mine), you’ll want to cook more than the pound of beans in the recipe below.
Cuban Black Beans
(shared from Moms with Crockpots)
- 1 16oz package dry black beans
- 1 t. dry oregano
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 T. salt
- 2 T. Olive Oil
- 1 C. chopped Bell pepper
- 1 C. diced onion
- 1 tomato
- Extra diced onion for on top of beans (optional)
- Place dry black beans in a large pot of water on the stove. Allow to soak overnight.
- Drain and rinse beans. Place beans in crock-pot. Add about 4 cups of water, just enough to cover.
- In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add Bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent. Add to beans in pot.
- Take a whole tomato and cut it into quarters and place it in the crock pot with the beans.
- Add your seasonings; Oregano, Salt, and a dash of pepper. Place lid on beans and leave in a crock-pot on low for 8-10 hours.
On to the taquitos! This recipe looked like so much fun and seemed really flexible as to how many taquitos you could make. And I’ve never made taquitos before, so I thought it had the potential to be added to my Mexican repertoire. I made a few tweaks throughout the recipe and the directions below reflect those notes. Enjoy!
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 T cumin
- 1 T coriander
- 1 t chili powder
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 24 sprouted corn tortillas (RRFR used Food Life’s and they were SO good!)
- 2 C home-cooked organic, beans (RRFR used the Cuban Bean recipe above)
- 2 C shredded cheese from grass-fed cows
- 1/4 C organic sour cream
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Avocado, salsa, and sour cream for serving
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Skim off any excess fat.
Add in the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, combine the cooked beans, cheese, sour cream, and salt and pepper.
Stir to combine.
Add the beef to the bean and cheese mixture. Stir to combine.
Heat up a small frying pan over medium-high heat (or use a cast iron skillet). You can a swig of butter or tallow, if needed, but RFRR used a dry pan. Gently heat up a tortilla briefly, for about 10 seconds per side. This will help the tortilla to become soft and pliable. Don’t skip this step or you will have broken tortillas. (RRRF Tip: keep and eye on the temperature of your pan. You may need to lower it to medium if it begins to get too hot during the process).
After heating the tortilla, spoon a tablespoon or two of the filling onto it. Roll tightly and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat the filling and rolling with the remaining tortillas.
RRFR Note: I bought a package of 12 tortillas, so I saved the leftover meat and bean mixture in the fridge and will use it in some flour tortillas I bought the other day to use for additional leftovers.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until warm and slightly toasted. Serve with avocado, green onions, salsa, sour cream or any other toppings you like!
RRFR Tip: These taquitos are great reheated in a toaster oven. Just pop them in until nice and sizzling hot again and enjoy!
Nutrition information for the Taquitos. Does not include the toppings of your choice (sour cream, avocado, etc.). Serves 8 (3 taquitos). Each serving has 510 calories, 22 g of fat, 28 g of protein, and 13 g of fiber.