Chicken Tostadas With Homemade Refried Beans

This is one of my go-to recipes for when I have leftover cooked chicken.  And refried beans are one of those things you could just eat from a can … in this version they are still mostly from a can, but soooo much tastier.  Here’s a fun story: I made the above platter of five tostadas for Captain Peter and myself for lunch on his birthday.  I set them out on the table, as you see above (failed to prevent him snatching a piece of watermelon before I could even get a picture) and ran below to stir something on the stove for dinner.  Sure, I got a little distracted and might have been a few minutes … when I returned topsides, platter was clean.  He thought it was his serving, and ate all five.  High praise for the recipe, I suppose!

Chicken Black Bean Tostadas

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8 corn tortillas
5 T vegetable oil
1 small onion
1 teaspoon each chili powder and ground cumin
1 can black beans
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Oh, I hear ya … sort of a gruesome picture, but this is a point I insist upon making, particularly for anyone trying to live on a budget (hello, sailors).  There is a time for buying an $8 rotisserie chicken at the grocery, but for less than that I get two whole chickens and it takes about 5 minutes prep time and an hour in the oven to spatchcock and roast them.  Even if I’m not serving it for dinner I’ll let it cool and throw it in a sealed bag and use it for half a dozen recipes all week, boiling the carcass for soup stock and dog treats at the end.  It really is just too cheap, easy, and convenient.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Coat the tortillas with vegetable oil (you can brush it on, but I just put the full amount in the pan you will use for the beans and dip them in on both sides, letting them drain a bit before putting them on a foil-lined baking sheet).  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, flipping and rotating (and salting lightly) once, until lightly browned and  crisped.  Recipe is for eight tostadas; my sheet only held five and I thought that would be enough for two people.

Saute onion in remaining oil until soft, then add spices and cook about 30 seconds.  Add beans and water and cook mashing with potato masher until partially creamy, about 5 minutes.  They are about done in the second photo, above; as you will see in the next, they firm and cream up quite a bit as they start to cool.

Off heat stir in half the cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Spread the beans on the tortillas — you’re going to think there’s more than you need, but use it ALL; unlike canned, it’s delicious, and it glues everything else on the tortilla for manageability.  Top with chicken, cheese, and stick back in the hot oven until melted, about 5 minutes.  Top with remaining cilantro, garnish with avocado, watermelon, or whatever other produce might be deliciously available, and wish your Captain a happy birthday!


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