When I began my little Fountain Avenue Kitchen adventure four years ago, I hadn’t the slightest idea where it would take me. I had never posted anything on social media, didn’t own a real camera, and didn’t follow a single blog. In fact, I was reluctant to call my website a blog because, to me, that implied I was spilling the innermost details of my life, and why would anyone care?
Early on, someone asked about my business plan. Good question. But I had no solid answer. I figured I’d just keep sharing recipes that people might actually be inclined to try and ultimately enjoy. My dad always told me that if you worked hard at something you enjoyed, good things would follow. And if not, you’d at least be happy. That was good enough for me.
Four years into this process, I continue to refine old recipes as I create new ones. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with a variety of food companies. Mostly, I do recipe development but I’ve done some product consulting, too. My personal rule is that I only work with products that I truly enjoy and feel good about feeding my family. To me, it would feel disingenuous to use and thereby promote a product that I didn’t wholeheartedly embrace.
Most of us have noticed recipes on package labels. Have you ever considered how they get there or when and why they go away? Bob’s Red Mill, a Portland-based company that mills a variety of grains, seeds, and legumes, decided it wanted to clean house, so to speak. So I joined an effort to test their archived recipes, rate them, suggest changes, etc. The process is quite fun and has nudged me out of my comfort zone as I work with new-to-me products like teff flour and, in this case, black bean flour.
I always know the recipe titles in advance but don’t know the actual ingredients until I receive a monthly package with instructions and the required products. When I opened the box for a cheesy black bean enchilada recipe and saw a powdery flour made of black beans, I had my doubts. As I prepared the recipe for dinner, I contemplated what I might serve as a quick backup for my family when this recipe potentially flopped.
My doubts, however, were unfounded. The fine flour reconstituted into a lush, velvety sauce, and the final outcome was wholesome comfort food that my family called a definite “make-again meal.” In fact, as we sat around the table, they told me that I had to take a picture. That’s their way of saying that this recipe rated highly and I needed to share it on my blog.
To humor them, I grabbed my camera. Darkness was approaching, and it was pouring rain. So, I placed the half-eaten casserole just outside our front door where it was protected by a small overhang but soaked up what little natural light remained. I snapped a few pictures and managed to keep the food—and myself–dry.
When I completed my report, I did make a few suggestions and corrections to the recipe instructions, one of which I mention below. Overall, my feedback was glowing, and my friends at Bob’s Red Mill graciously gave me permission to share the adjusted recipe here.
Black bean flour is not available at all grocery stores, but because this meal is easy, healthy, pantry cooking at its best, I did some calling around for those who may wish to try the recipe. Locally, the Stauffer’s locations in Lititz and Rohrerstown have the product in stock, and several other stores are trying to order it. The flour may also be purchased online directly through Bob’s Red Mill for $4.59 per 24-ounce bag. I found several other online sources offering the flour for a similar or higher price.
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup (or one 8-ounce can) tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup [black bean flour|http://www.bobsredmill.com/black-bean-flour.html]
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans (may use one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of choice)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 12 (6-inch diameter) corn tortillas
- Optional toppings for serving: chopped cilantro, tomato, and/or avocado; sour cream; salsa
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set aside a 9x13-inch (ungreased) baking dish.
- In a large saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, onion, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, and salt. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the black bean flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the pinto beans and hot sauce, and cook another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Ladle 1/4 of the sauce into the baking dish, evenly covering the bottom of the dish. Layer 3 tortillas and 1/2 cup of the cheese on top of the sauce. (I like to cut 2 of the tortillas in half, and 1 of them in sixths in order to create a layer that doesn't overlap.) Repeat the layering process three more times--sauce, tortillas, and cheese. (Not ending with a sauce layer allows the top layer of tortillas to become crisp, which is my favorite part.)
- Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for approximately 20 minutes or until a little bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle with any of the desired toppings and pass salsa and sour cream at the table, if desired. For leftover enchiladas, lightly cover with foil and reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until hot throughout.
Below, I dumped out some of the contents of the bag so you could see what black bean flour looks like–whitish and powdery. As soon as the flour is mixed with a liquid, however, it transforms into the deep black color you would expect. The texture is smooth and velvety while the flavor is the precise equivalent of unsalted, cooked or canned black beans in pureed form, making it perfectly suited for use in enchiladas, burritos, tacos, soups, and dips.
Nutritionally, black bean flour is high in fiber and protein and is a good source of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It’s low in both sodium and fat. Economical with a long shelf life, black bean flour incorporates into recipes quickly–no soaking time needed, simply reconstitute with water, broth, etc. If you’re wondering what else to do with it, recipes for Bean Dip, Burritos, and Taco Pizzas are included on the current package.