This is a basic authentic traditional Mexican beans recipe. The dish is nutritious, easy to make and so traditional that cannot miss from a respectable Mexican table. Beans are a staple in the Mexican cuisine and it is one of these dishes that you expect to be served when you go to your grandma’s house at the end of the week. It is a simple, but delicious dish that makes it with success into the category of “comfort foods” .
Some recipes might have few ingredients more, but this is a basic recipe that everyone can make even if they are not very skilled in the kitchen. One of the secrets for this recipe is the epazote, a traditional Mexican herb that is used in many dishes around Mexico. You can find it in some Mexican grocery stores, but you can also buy it dry or grow it in your garden.
Epazote is a herb that is used also as a tea. It is supposed to help with digestion and reduce flatulence, therefore, you can understand why is it used in the bean recipes.
Beans are a beautiful source of low fat protein and fiber, which we already know that it helps to lower the cholesterol and stabilize the blood sugar. It doesn’t matter what you use in this basic recipe, black, red, white or pinto beans, this recipe is incredible cheap to make, because a pound of dry beans will cost you only about $1. One pound of dry beans is equal with about 3 cans of beans, which would each cost you more than a dollar, for sure. It might even cost you more than $2 if you go for the organic cans of beans.
I am sure that lots of people might use cans of beans to make a quick meal. I use them too, because they are already cooked and save a lot of time, but the truth is that nothing compares with the slow cooking process of homemade stuff. Frijoles or cooked beans are a dish that you might get during the weekend when you visit your mom or your grandma(tu abuelita). It feels comforting and safe and plain awesome and nothing can beat that.
How To Make These Authentic Traditional Mexican Beans- Frijoles Autenticos Mexicanos:
There is some planning with this recipe, as you need to soak the beans in advance over night and then cook them for about an hour and half on the stove. Besides the planning, it is really as easy as boiling water. You can also skip the overnight soaking process, but you will have to increase the time of boiling the beans with about 30-45 minutes.
Before you start cooking the beans take a quick look at them and make sure they don’t have any stones or other foreign objects among them. Wash them in warm water few times, then place them in a pot with water.
Add the onion that you cut in big chunks and the cloves of garlic. Also add bay leaves and a little bit of dried Mexican oregano. Cover the pot and cook them until they are soft. The cooking time will vary based on how fresh or old the beans are. They usually need about 90 minutes to two hours.
When ready, it is traditional to add the epazote, just few minutes before removing the beans from the heat. Add salt and pepper to your taste and serve with anything you like.
There is this myth that you have to add salt only at the end of the cooking process, as the beans are going to be tough and have a hard time cooking if you add the salt at the beginning. I am not sure if this is true or not. I cook beans quite often and add salt at the beginning of the process, because I think the beans get more flavor from it. They also cook fine.
To make sure your beans are cooked thoroughly, scoop up a couple of beans and blow on them. The skin should curl and wrinkle. Then taste. They are done when they’re tender and cooked through to the center (but not mushy). Let them cool in their cooking liquid.
In the Mexican cuisine, beans go well with almost everything: grilled meats, rice, salads, in tacos etc. For example, we had them with steak and Cactus salad(ensalada de nopales).
It was divine! Simple and delicious and I really hope you will make them once in a while and ditch those cans of beans you have in the pantry! For those, try this quick recipe of Pinto Bean salad.
- 1 pound/454g dried beans(pinto, black, white, or any other favorite variety)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1-2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 12 cups/3 liters water
- 1 bunch epazote
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Optional for serving:
- Queso fresco
- Mexican Cream
- Check for a date on the beans; freshness matters. Dried beans last up to two years, but are best cooked within a year of harvest.
- Always rinse beans before cooking, and check for stray rocks, twigs and leaves.
- Wash them well and place them in a pot with clean water to soak over night. Next day, drain the water and put fresh water over them, then continue with the recipe.
- If you do not want to let them soak overnight, place the chopped onions, salt and garlic together in the pot, cover it with a lid and bring it to a boil.
- When the beans start boiling, reduce the heat and let them simmer for about 90 minutes to 2 hours until the beans are soft. The time varies based on the type of beans or how dry they are.
- Make sure that there is enough water during the cooking process. There should always be liquid covering your beans as they cook.
- To make sure your beans are cooked thoroughly, scoop up a couple of beans and blow on them. The skin should curl and wrinkle. Then taste. They are done when they’re tender and cooked through to the center (but not mushy). Let them cool in their cooking liquid.
- Before removing the beans from the heat, add the epazote.
- Serve them with salads, rice, warm corn tortillas, grilled meats etc.