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Frijoles de Olla
Olla de frijoles means “a pot of beans.” Frijoles are a staple in the Mexican kitchen and frijoles are an essential part of Mexican food. Pinto beans are the most common beans used, although beans change from region to region. In Mexican cooking, there are three ever present ingredients: chilies, corn and beans. There are many ingredients used in Mexican cooking but these are the three “must haves.”
In every Mexican home, there is a pot of beans simmering on the stove-top, simmering in the oven, or a pot of beans in the refrigerator ready to be used. Mexican cooks take the process of simmering a pot of beans very seriously. Each cook has their own unique way of preparing them. Everything from the bean variety, the type of pot used, to the seasonings, differ greatly from cook to cook.
Soak or Not to Soak?
This recipe uses mayocoba beans and the beans are soaked overnight. The beans are also made in a earthen bean pot then baked in the oven. Some cooks don’t soak their beans, some do….it’s a personal preference so do whatever your comfortable with. Personally, I have always soaked my beans overnight in water, and then boiled the beans off the next day.
- 2 cups
dried mayocoba beans (also know as peruano beans)
- 1 small
- 4 cloves
- 1 whole large
serrano pepper, stem removed
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon
- Pick through the beans and remove any debris; remove any beans that have split and/or beans with holes. Rinse beans. Place beans in a dutch oven. Cover beans with water. Let beans soak overnight.
- When ready to prepare beans, rinse beans and cover again with cold water, add 1 teaspoon baking soda. Bring beans to a boil; boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain beans, reserving water.
- In a large skillet. heat oil over medium heat; sauté onion and serrano pepper just until the onions begin to brown and the chili blisters, about 4 minutes.
- Add the crushed garlic. saute until it softens.
- In an earthen bean pot add: beans, onions, serrano pepper and garlic. Pour in enough reserved bean water to cover the beans by 3 inches. Cover the pot tightly.
- Bake at 350º for 2 to 4 hours or until beans have softened.
- Check beans often to make sure the pot has enough water. Add more reserved bean water if necessary. Once the beans are soft and you can squeeze a bean between you fingers, allow to bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Leave enough broth in the bean pot, in case you want to mash the beans for refried beans.
Recipe adapted from a wonderful blog called: Rockin Robin’s Cooking Mexican Recipes.
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