One of my jobs as a kid, was to help my Mom in the kitchen. The jobs were pretty easy, chopping mostly. My favorite job was when I was asked to help clean the dried pinto beans. Many times purchased in bulk, 5 pounds at a time, they contains broken beans and small stones. I remember sitting across the kitchen table from my Mom and we would spread the beans out onto the table in between us. In no time those beans we free and clear of all stones and broken beans. I could still hear the sound of the beans as we pushed them into that large, empty stainless steel pot. This one pot of beans would take us through many meals. On this blog post, I share with you a few of my favorite recipes prepared with homemade beans.
Frijoles de Olla
3 cups of dry pinto beans
1 medium white onion, quartered
1 whole bulb garlic
2 bay leaves
1 serrano or jalapeño
2 chile de arbol
salt to taste
1. Soak the beans overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the next day.
3. Cover with water, 3 inches above beans.
4. Add aromatics
5. Bring to a simmer.Partially covered, keep at a simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beans become tender. You will have to add hot water twice so the water level stays up. Add salt to taste once beans are tender. Remove aromatics. Yields about 8 cups.
Tips~ Remove aromatics and cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for a week or divide into 2 cup portions with enough broth to cover and freeze in airtight containers or quart size freezer bags.
Frijoles con Chorizo
1 tablespoon of pork manteca or oil of your choice
1 cup uncooked mexican chorizo (I used homemade chorizo which has less fat, so I added some for cooking). Search under chorizo in categories for homemade chorizo recipes
1/3 cup white onion, diced
1 serrano, minced
3 cups whole pinto beans in their broth (about 1 cup)
Pinch of cumin, optional
*Crumbled Queso Fresco for garnish
1. In a large skillet, heat manteca to medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
2, Add the onions and chile and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the beans and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
3. After they simmer for about 5 minutes, mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. If the beans become too dry, add a little more broth or water. Bring on the homemade flour tortillas and avocado! Yields 6 servings.
Tips~ For a smoother bean, you could blend the beans in their brother on high before adding them to the cooked chorizo/onion mixture.
Frijoles Borrachos, Charros, A la Charra (aka Drunken Beans) …..Just serve me a bowl already! LOL!
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup broth from beans
7 strips of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 serrano chile, sliced into thick rings or minced
1 small white onion, diced
Handful of chopped cilantro
12 oz of a light beer
salt and pepper
Oil, manteca, canola or olive oil
1. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil of your choice. Add the bacon and cook until browned. Add the onions, chile serrano and cilantro, stir well to combine.
2. Add the beans, liquid from the beans and the beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir, cover and cook for a good 20 to 25 minutes. Taste for salt.
Tips~ If you wanted to prepare these without beer, I like to replace the beer with low sodium chicken or beef broth. Garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, crema (Mexican cream) and warm tortillas or tostadas. These beans were always made with carne asada…
Kicked Up Smoked Ham and Beans
2 cups dried pinto beans(soaked overnight), washed and drained
1 cup diced onion
2 serranos, minced
3 chile de arbol
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Smoked ham bone
2 cups diced smoked ham
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1. Add the first 6 ingredients to a large dutch oven pot and cover with water 3 to 4 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and continue cooking for 2 hours or until beans become tender.
2. Once beans are tender, add all the remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for another 25 minutes. Yields up to 8 servings.
Frijoles Refritos con Chile Colorado
3 cups pinto beans (cooked) with their broth
5 to 6 chile ancho, stems and seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste
1 cup chicken broth or more bean broth
2 tablespoons pork manteca (lard) or oil of your choice
1. Transfer the chile ancho to a glass bowl. Cover with water and cook in the microwave for 7 to 9 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove from microwave and let cool slightly.
2. While the chiles are cooling, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoon of manteca (lard) or oil to medium heat. Add the beans and bring to a simmer. Drain the chile anchos and transfer to the blender. Add the cumin, oregano, garlic, salt to taste, and ½ cup water or chicken broth. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.
3. Add the chile ancho sauce to the beans, stir well to combine. When it comes to a boil, add the other ½ cup or more of chicken or bean broth and reduce heat to a low simmer, stirring often. Taste for salt and while the beans are simmering, mash with a potato masher until desired texture. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Over the years, I have tried many and have prepared many spice blends, marinades and adobo sauces. The one constant ingredient in all of them are dried peppers. Whether toasted, pureed into a sauce or in a powder form, the dried chiles are an essential and key ingredient if you are looking to prepare authentic Mexican flavors. The flavors and heat levels vary. Rule of thumb is, the smaller the pepper, the spicier it will be. In today’s blog entry, I would like to share a few recipes I prepared with a chile and garlic oil using the dried chile de arbol. It is on the spicy side, so a little goes a long way.
Oil and Vinegar Based Chile de Arbol Salsa (Chile Oil). In Mexico the name is Salsa de Aceite Estilo Las Carretas
1/2 cup oil, plus 1/4 cup more reserved (canola or grapeseed)
1/4 pound chile de arbol, stems removed
5 chile New Mexico or guajillos, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cider vinegar
Salt to taste
*more oil if needed
1. In a pan, combine the 1/2 cup oil, chile de arbol, new mexico peppers and garlic. Bring up to temperature at medium heat. When the peppers become aromatic, lower heat and stir often. You want the peppers to become bright red and slightly soft. Do not let them get too dark or they will be bitter. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Transfer chile/oil mixture to the blender, add vinegar and salt to taste. Pulse to blend, adding more of the reserved oil if it’s too thick. Cool at room temperature and store in an airtight container in the coldest part of the refrigerator. When using for a recipe, scoop out the amount you will be using and return unused portion back to refrigerator. I find that if the chile oil is exposed to too much temperature change, it could spoil faster. It will keep for a few months in the refrigerator. Yields about 2 cups. Once you have prepared the chile oil, here are a few recipes I prepared, each with a slight variation.
Tips~ For a milder chile oil, add only half of the chile de arbol and double up on the chile guajillos. You could add some chile ancho as well.
Grilled Chicken Tenders Basted with Chile Oil
1 pound chicken tenders or 8 pieces
Salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
1/4 cup chile oil
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 key lime or half of a regular lime
1. Season the tenders (to taste) with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Add the oregano and drizzle with olive oil, set aside.
2. Preheat outdoor or stove top grill pan to medium heat for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the chile oil, lime juice and honey, taste for salt and set aside. Brush the grill or pan with a little oil. Grill the tenders for about 5 minutes per side if thick in the middle. Before taking off of the grill, baste with chile oil mixture on both sides. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes.
3. Serve as is over a salad or serve on slider size rolls with avocado, tomato, cilantro, grilled onions and a little crema or mayonnaise. Yields 4 servings.
Grilled Flank Steak
1 pound flank or skirt steak
1/4 cup chile oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine the chile oil, lime juice, oregano, cumin 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
2. Lightly season the steak with salt and pepper, transfer to storage container or plastic storage bag. Add the chile oil mixture and coat steak evenly. Chill and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3. Remove steak from refrigerator at least 40 minutes before cooking. When ready to cook, preheat outdoor grill to high for a few minutes. Brush grates with oil, grill steak for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Add an extra minute per side if you like it more well done. Remove from heat, tent loosely with foil paper and let steak rest for 5 minutes. When ready to serve, slice thin against the grain. Yields 4 servings for tacos.
Pan Seared Chile de Arbol Mahi Mahi
1/8 cup chile de arbol oil
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Juice of 1 key lime
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Mahi Mahi fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1. Combine Ccile oil, Old Bay seasoning, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over fillets and coat evenly. Marinate for 1 hour.
2. remove fish from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat skillet to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 4 minutes per side or until fish is flaky. Remove from heat and serve right away. Garnish with fresh salsa or guacamole. Serve with chips or corn tostadas. Yields 2 servings.