Having frijolitos de la olla (beans from the pot) is a must in a Mexican home. My parents used to cook beans once a week and they would freeze some, so we could have fresh beans to refried during the week. It became a tradition that I carried on until today.
My mum would buy loose pinto beans, which are the most popular beans in the north of Mexico and we would help her to clean them, I loved sitting down with her with these massive mountain of dried pinto beans on the table that we have to sort and clean, that meant to remove any stones or broken beans. Then she would soak them in water for a few hours and cook them with onion and garlic. My house would smell to the cooked beans aroma that it is very distintive and delicious.
We would eat beans every day for breakfast, lunch or dinner, in a taco, over bread or as a side dish. Delicious, creamy little brown things that for Mexicans are as precious as corn.
Over the years I’ve changed my the way my parents used to cook beans and I want to believe that nowadays my beans are better than theirs. So here is the way I cook beans here in London. Yes, I changed the way I cook my beans, but the tradition of cooking beans from scratch once a week still in me.
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Frijoles de la Olla con Tuétano
- Dutch oven (cast iron casserole dish)
- 500 g dried pinto beans soaked and cleaned
- 2 small bone marrow optional
- 2 carrots cut in chunks
- 1 leek cut in chunks
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 L water
- 1½ tbsp salt optional
Garnish for Frijoles de la Olla
- ½ cup white onion finely diced
- ½ cup fresh coriander finely chopped
- ½ cup queso fresco or feta crumbled
- ½ cup spicy salsa of your choice
- Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for 2 hrs.
- Once they have been soaking for 2 hrs, remove the water and place them in a dutch oven, cover with fresh water and add the bone marrow, carrots, leeks, garlic and bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil. Remove any impurities with a spoon and lower the heat to low heat. Put the lid on and simmer for 1 hour.
- After an hour check if the beans still have plenty of water and how soft they are. Continue simmering for 20 more minutes and check them again. If they are soft, turn the heat of.
- If you are having the beans as a soup, then add the salt 10 minutes before turning them off. But if you are planning to use them to make refried beans, then do not add salt.
To eat the beans as Frijoles de la Olla
- Remove all the vegetables and discard them. Serve some beans in a bowl and add some of the bean stock. Add some bone marrow if fancy.
- Top the beans from the pot with onion, coriander, queso fresco and spicy salsa. Perfect lunch especially when they are just made.
I would love to hear if you liked this recipe, tag me on social media #mexicanfoodmemories to see your creations. And if you want to learn to make this recipe and more, join me in one of my Mexican Cooking Classes.