My Uncle Dick and I hardly ever speak now, but I remember a time when he would tell me about the winding adventures of his youth. A fantastic storyteller, cook and world-wanderer, Dick is also an artist and maker of children’s toys. In the 1970s, he moved down to San Miguel de Allende, a small mountain town in central Mexico that was a mecca for artists and craftsmen. I think he lived out some of the happiest times of his life there in the small apartment he rented. The caretaker was a woman named Felicia, and it was she who passed this recipe on to him. I’ve modified it for ease, but I still imagine him young and happy while I’m eating it.
- 2 dozen corn tortillas
- 1 cup cheddar cheese or pepper jack, shredded
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1 16-oz. can refried beans ( I like the kind with jalapeños)
- ½ tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 4.5-oz. can green diced chilies
- 1 pint sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the filling by sauteeing the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Warm the refried beans until spreadable. Heat a frying pan on the stove over low to medium heat; add a little canola oil (or any oil besides olive oil). Fry tortillas in pan for 15 seconds on both sides.
In a 13-by-9-inch pan, lay down fried tortillas until the bottom is covered. Then, layer refried beans, cheese, onions and cilantro. Repeat layers until pan is full, then top with a layer of tortillas. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and mix in flour to form a roux. Add chicken stock and stir until thickened. Add chilies. Turn down heat. Add sour cream. Stir in chili powder. Pour over tortillas until covered. Bake for 25 minutes.