Frijoles de la olla (Pot ‘O Beans)
While not quite a fruit, beans really are a magical legume.
In hard economic times, they can be the star in your kitchen–to the point of eye-rolling boredom when mom puts them on the table. They are incredibly versatile and make for a great source of protein, complex carbs, and fiber… but we like them because they’re cheap and delicious.
Everyone should have a pot of beans in their repertoire. They are exceptionally easy to make, especially if you have a slow-cooker on hand. Traditionally, beans have been cooked in earthenware pots or ollas in Mexico and they still do a fantastic job. A few varieties of beans dominate supermarket shelves these days, namely Pinto, Bayo, Peruano/Canary and Black beans. In mercados and in the country–particularly in the Central/South of the country–you will see much more variety.
These frijoles de la olla (lit. “beans from the pot”) are intended to be a blank slate for you to season or use for other purposes. I like to add 3 or 4 tablespoons of cumin for that earthy taste and usually throw a jalapeno in while cooking. Those changes are up to you.
- 2 cups dry beans (pinto, bayo, black, peruano, etc)
- ½ White Onion, peeled.
- 6 cups water
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 heaped tbsp. lard (or bacon fat)
- 1 dry bay leaf or epazote
- Salt to taste
- Sort through your beans, nobody likes eating rocks. Yes, there are probably rocks, no matter where you get the beans. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, earthenware pot (olla), or regular old metal pot. Set to the low setting on a slow cooker or the lowest heat your stove offers, let them cook all night long. Just be careful not to run out of water, or the beans will scorch. Salt to taste.
- Serve with Pico de Gallo and a fried egg at breakfast.