Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Bean Chipotle Torta

Way back when, during my college years, I had the privilege of studying in Mexico for a semester.  I was a pretty different creature in those days - it wasn't uncommon to find me knocking back a bacon wrapped hot dog (the regional street-vendor fair) after an evening of not-so-moderate drinking at the local barra in between cigarettes.  I was pretty far from vegetarianism, and I don't think the word "vegan" had ever even passed between my ears.  Years later, I still love Mexican flavours, and am happy to report that there's nothing lacking in the Mexican palette when you cut out the flesh.

This sandwich is more of a sandwich guideline/idea than it is a strict recipe.  There are endless permutations possible.  I was looking to create something that reminded me of the tortas (Mexican sandwiches) I ate on a regular basis while living in Xalapa.  I think this pretty well hit the mark, without being too labor intensive.  I used canned refried beans, but home-made would be even better if you have the time. Each of the elements can be made in advance and then assembled quickly, or you can wrap the whole thing up, take it with you to enjoy cold.

My camera seems to have been on the fritz yesterday while I was making these, so please excuse the not-so-focused shots.  I'll spiff up the photos the next time around : ) could send me yours and I'll post them up!


For the slaw:
1/2 cabbage (green, red, or mixed)
4 T fresh dill
fresh lime juice
olive oil
1 tsp sugar

For the beans:
One can (or equivalent) refried black beans (be sure to check the label to avoid lard)
2 - 4 Tablespoons Adobo Sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)

Crusty french rolls

Additional toppings:
Red pepper
Pickled peppers
Pickled onions (Recipe here)

  • Start by preparing the slaw
    • Shred the cabbage as finely as possible
    • Whisk together equal parts lime (or lemon) juice and olive oil (about 1/4 cup each) with a big fat pinch of salt and the tsp of sugar.
    • Mix the dressing with the cabbage and set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally.
    • Optionally - add shredded carrots.
  • Prepare the beans
    • In a medium bowl, mix together the refried beans with a few tablespoons of the adobo sauce.  Taste and adjust, adding enough to get it to your preferred level of smokey spiciness.  
  • Cut the rolls in half and pick out some of the bread to make space for the fillings.
  • Then:
    • Option A:  Smear each side of the roll with bean mixture and place under broiler for 2 minutes(ish) until warm and toasty.
    • Option B:  Heat the beans on the stove and then smear onto toasted (or un-toasted) bread.
    • Option C:  Leave it all cold!
  • Layer in your additional toppings (depending on season and preference) and slaw.  I highly recommend at least 1/3 of an avocado for each sandwich.
  • Enjoy!

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