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A pot of beans

April 26, 2011

I’m not exaggerating when I say: There’s a pot of beans bubbling away on a stove in every Mexican household. This is not a generalization. This is true. It really is. Just ask any Mexican you know.

Curious about my own alleged generalization, I took a poll (of one person). I asked my dear friend NeneCat Maria Celani Dominguez de Souktouri of The Flying Carpet, how often her mother made beans. (Let us keep in mind that her mother worked, as did mine, and they still had time to make those beloved beans). She replied: “My mother made beans at least every other day. There were four of us….I make a pot about once a week”.

So o.k. maybe not every day, but at least once a week there is a pot of beans bubbling away in many a Mexican household. If my memory serves me correctly, there was a pot of beans on the stove in our house, at least once a week. If not every other. They were usually the red pinto bean type and laced with tomatoes and bacon fat of some kind. They were always good and a necessary staple around the colder months. I don’t recall eating them with rice as much as I recall eating them with cornbread. We also ate them with fritos and I must admit this is my favorite way to eat beans. Basically it’s about 3 steps away from becoming Frito pie. Oh, Frito pie, how I adore thee…

About a month ago I bought some beans from the Rancho Gordo stand at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Rancho Gordo is based in Napa and they grow various types of heirloom beans, corn and grains. They also sell great corn tortillas, red popping corn and quinoa. The packaging is eye-catching as well. This always helps when selling products, especially beans.

Since then, my beans have been hanging around in the cupboard,
so I thought I’d put a pot on the stove, and boil some off. They emerged from their  warm bath of beef stock and ESB beer, plump, spicy and perfect with fritos. Though I do love beans, I can’t imagine cooking a whole pot of them every week. I.m sorry I just can’t. This doesn’t make me a bad Mexican. Just please don’t ask me Mom what she thinks of this travesty.

My take on Beanie Weenies

Ingredients:

Half a red onion -chopped

3 gloves garlic- chopped

Spices: Coriander, Chili powder, Oregano- Heaping Tablespoon of each

Salt- as needed

2 cups -Rancho Gordo  Yellow Indian woman heirloom beans

1 Quart- Beef stock

3 bottles- RedHook ESB beer

Cilantro- half bunch chopped

Mushrooms- a handful (if you have any)

1 Serrano pepper- chopped

Tomato paste- about 1/4 cup

Ketchup- about 1/4 cup

Directions:

Put beans in a bowl. Discard the ones that are bad (irregular). Cover beans with water and set aside to soak every night.

The next morning, drain the beans of the water and set aside.

Heat some oil (few tablespoons) in a large soup pot and add the dried spices. Let the spices toast and warm in the oil until fragrant. Then add the onions and cook for a few minutes. Then add the garlic, the serrano and half of the chopped cilantro. You can also add the mushrooms (if you have any) at this time. When everything in the soup pot has cooked down, add the tomato paste and ketchup and stir together. Now you can add the beans, the beer and the beef stock. Cover the pot of beans and let simmer for at least 4 hours. Around the third hour, lift the lid, smell the aroma and add your chopped up wieners or sausages.

Cover again and let continue to cook. Add more cilantro right before you serve.

These beans are great over rice, with cornbread, or in a big bowl with fritos floating across them.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2011 10

    That sounds sooooo damn good!!!!!!!!

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