Friday, April 29, 2016

Beef and Bean Enchiladas - A recipe from Alice Vartanian

Christine Datian has been a long-time recipe contributor to The Armenian Kitchen, the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, and numerous on-line publications. This time Christine’s mother, Alice Vartanian’s recipe which recently appeared in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator (page 14) is featured. Although it's not an Armenian dish, her recipe would be perfect to prepare for Cinco de Mayo, which is right around the corner.

Cinco de Mayo, or the 5th of May, is a celebration among Mexican communities in Mexico and North America marking the Mexican defeat of French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Alice Vartanian
The following is a brief bio of Alice Vartanian, as it appears in the Armenian Mirror- Spectator:

'Alice Vartanian is a long-time resident of Fresno, CA, and the mother of three children, Steven Vartanian and Philip Vartanian both of Fresno, Christine Vartanian Datian of Las Vegas, and grandmother to two grandsons, Brian and Justin Vartanian.  Alice was born in Lowell, MA, and is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Levon Sarkisian.  She was happily married to the late Arthur Vartanian of Fresno, and is a member of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and Trinity Guild.  She is an accomplished pianist who loves music, traveling, gardening, cooking, reading, and spending time with her beloved family and friends.  She has made this delicious enchilada recipe for over 45 years for two generations of Vartanians in Fresno.  She is pictured here in her lovely Fresno, CA kitchen.'

Beef and Bean Enchiladas (Image from

Beef and Bean Enchiladas a recipe from Alice Vartanian

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (1 lb.) vegetarian refried beans
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green chili salsa (or salsa of your choice)
1/3 cup taco sauce
2 cans (10 oz. each) enchilada sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Dash of Tabasco or hot sauce (more to taste)
Canola oil
12 corn tortillas
2-3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice
Serve with sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped green onions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large pan, sauté the beef and onions together until the meat is browned and onions are soft; drain well.

Stir in the refried beans, garlic, green chili salsa, and taco sauce, and heat until bubbly.  Add remaining spices and Tabasco or hot sauce to taste and mix until all ingredients are combined.

Pour half the enchilada sauce into an ungreased, shallow 3-quart baking dish.   Pour some oil (about a 1/2 inch) into a small frying pan and heat; dip tortillas one at a time in the hot oil for a minute to soften and drain quickly on paper towels.

When ready to assemble, place about 1/3 cup meat and bean mixture on each tortilla; roll to enclose filling and place seam-side down in the sauce in the baking dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over all tortillas and top with the cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted. 

Serve sour cream, black olives, and chopped green onions on the side or as garnish.

Note: You may cover and refrigerate enchiladas for up to one day before baking; if taken directly from refrigerator, increase baking time up to 45 minutes.  Serves 6-8.

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