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Real Mexican Frijoles, or Beans
This is the traditional northern Mexican recipe for frijoles, or pinto beans, taught to me years ago by an old friend, Jose Maria Arballo of San Jose de Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. Ojala que Los Dios guardan a su alma.
To a large sauce pan - about the size of a pressure cooker add:
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups pinto beans, (Mexican: "Frijoles pintos")
- 10-12 cups water
- ham hock, or some bacon or bacon grease, or a chunk of fat meat
- 3 bay leaves
- several hot dry red chiles like tepine, pico de gallo, pequin or Tabasco
Wash frijople beans well after picking out rocks ect. Soak all of above overnight, then bring slowly to a simmer. (A faster way is to bring all of above slowly to a simmer, turn off heat and let sit for an hour, drain, refill with water, then bring slowly back to simmer.)
- Half a dozen cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbl. dry leaf oregano
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seed, crushed a bit
- Good grind black pepper
- 1-4 Tbl. pure ground red chile powder
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- Add to taste: More little dry chiles.
Simmer frijoles very slowly for several hours until beans are very tender. Add water as needed to maintain level and stir gently occasionally so they don't stick. When beans are quite tender, remove from heat and stir in:
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- bit of salt
Note: Don't add salt until frijole beans are done, it will make them tough. For frijoles refritos, fry up some beans and their juice in a bit of grease, mashing the beans and stirring them around until they are quite dry. Don't scorch. See the recipe for chorizo for more on this.
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