Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Dip into dinner with this cheesy sausage and bean skillet

Ann Maloney

THE WASHINGTON POST – I love an interactive meal. One where you build your own whatever it might be. When I’ve had a lousy day, the sight of a table brimming with little bowls and lots of choices cheers me up.

It’s a great option when feeding a group, but even when it is just my husband and me, I find we lighten up and next thing you know we’re chatting and sharing stories as we pass a little of this or that to each other.

This week’s recipe, a cheesy sausage bean skillet that can be ready in just under 30 minutes, is a great example of build-your-own dish that I have made again and again.

I was first inspired to make it by a choriqueso recipe in Danny Mena’s Made in Mexico cookbook. I tweaked a bit, adding home-cooked and canned whole beans for a more filling dish, but finally settling on canned refried as my favourite choice, because they make the skillet easier to serve. It’s actually dippable, if you have hardy chips or sturdy flatbreads.

You can use black or pinto beans. I’ve made it with cannellini, too.

The big flavour comes from the pan-fried sausage. You break it into pieces with a spoon and crisp it in an ovenproof skillet. Don’t forget to drain it well on a towel. Then, wipe out that same skillet and heat up the beans with onion, garlic and chilli powders and a bit of cumin. (If you don’t eat meat, you can make or find meatless sausage that delivers a lot of the same flavours).

Cheesy chorizo and bean skillet. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Add the sausage back to the skillet of beans, stir, and top it all with grated mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheeses. Then just slide that skillet under a broiler until the cheeses bubble and turn brown in spots. Tuck a couple of serving spoons into that hot skillet and serve it family-style – on a trivet to protect your table.

Then, the fun part: All of the accompaniments. My preference is to spoon the mixture onto warm or charred corn tortillas, but flour ones work as well, as do a sturdy lettuce leaves, such as iceberg. I like to go all out with ways to dress up this dish, including avocado slices, pickled jalapeños, salsa or pico de gallo, sour cream, lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.

With that first cheese-pull-y spoonful, you’ll have smiles all around.

Dig in.


30 minutes
Four servings

Gather family or friends around the table for this cheesy skillet with chorizo and beans, inspired by a choriqueso recipe from Made in Mexico by Danny Mena. We’ve tried it with beans to turn that dippable dish into a quick supper. You can use black or pinto beans, whole or refried. Warm corn or flour tortillas hold the cheesy mix, and supplement it with whatever tickles your fancy: avocado, salsa, sour cream, lime and/or pickled jalapeño slices. It also makes a great snack with tortilla or pita chips.

Make Ahead: The sausage and beans can be cooked up to three days in advance, and then warmed, topped with cheese, and broiled just before serving.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate for up to three days.


Two teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
Four ounces (about one large link)
beef sausage, casings removed, if necessary
Four ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
Eight ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
One (15-ounce) can fat-free refried pinto beans or black beans
Half teaspoon onion powder
Half teaspoon garlic powder
One teaspoon chilli powder
One-quarter teaspoon ground cumin
One tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for serving (optional)
Eight (six-inch) corn or flour tortillas
Sliced avocado, for serving (optional)
Pico de gallo or chunky salsa, for serving (optional)
Sour cream, crema or Greek yoghurt for serving (optional)
Pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


Position an oven rack about six inches from the broiling element and preheat the broiler. If your broiler is on the bottom, preheat it. Line a large plate with a towel and place it near the stove.

In an ovenproof, nonstick or well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat one teaspoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to the prepared plate and pat away as much grease as you can with another towel. Carefully pour off and discard the fat; lightly wipe the skillet.

While the meat is cooking, in a medium bowl, toss together the grated cheeses.

Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the remaining teaspoon of oil, the beans, onion powder, garlic powder, chilli powder, cumin and minced cilantro and stir until well combined and warmed through, about three minutes. Add the sausage: and stir to combine.

Spread the beans as evenly as evenly as you can. Top with the grated cheese.

Place the skillet in the oven and broil for about five minutes, checking every two minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown in spots. (If your broiler is on the bottom, transfer the baking dish to the broiler drawer).

Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in a damp tea towel and microwave them on HIGH for 30 seconds. Transfer the still-wrapped tortillas to a plate.

Serve the skillet family-style, with the tortillas and your choice of garnishes, such as avocado, pico de gallo or salsa, sour cream, jalapeños, lime wedges and fresh cilantro sprigs on the side.

Nutrition information per serving (scant one cup of bean mixture, two corn tortillas) | Calories: 443; Total Fat: 21g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 88mg; Sodium: 951mg; Carbohydrates: 39g; Dietary Fibre: 9g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 27g.