As if the name and photo didn’t already give it away, this hot mess of a meal dates back to when I first graduated from college. (The recipe is scrawled in my even-back-then-barely-legible handwriting on a stained, torn-out sheet of binder paper.) It doesn’t really have anything to do with burritos, or pie, but no one has ever cared. It’s not only quick to throw together on a weeknight, but it’s turned out to be one of B.’s favorite dishes. He’s lucky I even made it for him in the first place, but I do admit, even after all these years it’s still pretty good in an early-aughts “Mexican” food kind of way.
As below, it makes 4 servings. Ordinarily I’d cook my own beans, but I tend not to for this since it requires two separate kinds and I don’t want to be eating beans for 2 weeks straight.
• 1 can pinto beans: 69 cents
• 1 can black beans: 69 cents
• 5 tortillas: $1.35
• 2 garlic cloves, minced: 2 cents
• 8 oz. jack cheese, grated (colby, plain, or pepper is fine): $2.49
• 1/2 cup salsa (cheating! we received a jar of homemade stuff as a gift and portioned it into 1/2-cup increments to freeze): $0
• Cilantro leaves, to taste: 10 cents
• 1 roma tomato, chopped (yes, I bought an out-of-season supermarket tomato. No, I don’t want to talk about it): 28 cents
• Salt to taste: 1 cent
TOTAL: $5.63/4 = $1.41/serving
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Drain and rinse the black beans. In a medium bowl, combine the beans with the tomato, cilantro, and a pinch of salt and stir well.
Drain and rinse the pinto beans. In another medium bowl, combine them with the salsa, garlic, and a pinch of salt and mash. I use the bottom of a glass to do the mashing, but a potato masher or similar implement would work as well. (Don’t think you can cheat by using already-mashed refried beans; they’ll bake up dry and pasty.)
Place a tortilla in a greased cast-iron skillet, springform pan, or other deep, round dish (or square, if that’s all you’ve got). Spread half the pinto-bean mixture on the tortilla, leaving about a half-inch margin around the edges, and top with cheese. Lay another tortilla on top of the cheese and spread half the black bean mixture on top, again with a small margin around the edges, followed by more cheese.
Repeat with the second half of the pinto-bean mixture and another sprinkle of cheese. (At this point you may have to press down in the middle to create a slight indentation to keep the beans from rolling off. This is why there’s a margin around the edges.)
Repeat, again, with the second half of the black bean mixture and more cheese. Lay the last tortilla on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Grease the underside of a piece of foil (to keep the cheese from sticking to it) and cover the skillet or pan. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the foil (some cheese might still stick to the foil, but at least it’s not most of the cheese, which is what would’ve happened had you not greased it) and cook for another 10 minutes, until cheese is browned and tortilla edges are crispy.
Cut and serve.