So I totally meant to post this yesterday for Mexico’s independence day, BUT I wasn’t able to finish it. I had other things to catch up on, and then in the evening Kevin took me out for a lovely supper for my birthday. We were going to go out for Tapas for the first time, but this place didn’t take any reservations, and when we got there, there was a waiting list of an hour to an hour and a half. No thanks… we were way too hungry to wait for that long. Instead we went to a place called Hermanos. The food there was amazing! You know what else is amazing? The bean recipe that I’m about to share with you.
I grew up eating beans as a meal. In Canada beans are usually eaten as a side dish only, but for my family it was a meal. But before I continue on, let me say that beans and tortillas simply go hand in hand. My parents would buy a fresh kilo of tortillas (sometimes still warm!), and then once at home, someone had to pick apart the stack of tortillas to let them cool off to prevent them from sticking together. This would provide us with the perfect opportunity to pick up a fresh tortilla, shake some salt on it, roll it up and eat it.
Goodness, I miss being able to buy completely fresh tortillas! One time when we were visiting my parents, my dad took me along to town and we bought some fresh tortillas from the “tortilleria”. I couldn’t help but dig right in before I even got the chance to get some salt from home.
Where was I? Right. I was talking about how we ate beans in my family. We would warm up some corn tortillas on a metal skillet, spread some butter or margarine on them, which would immediately melt, and then we’d roll them up, ready to be eaten along with the beans, and sometimes some veggies or a salad (oh, and a cup of cold milk!). We usually held a tortilla in one hand (which was usually dripping with melted margarine), and a fork in the other, and together they made the perfect team to bring the food from the plate to the mouth, while also scooping up the delicious sauce that was being left behind on the plate. There’s really nothing quite like it!
There are different ways to eat beans. When I had them at my grandparent’s home, I remember them being accompanied by “schmont faat” (white gravy sauce) that I’m assuming was made with heavy cream and bacon drippings. At home, I followed my dad’s example and always added sugar to my beans. Over time I saw my cousins in Canada adding ketchup and cheese to their beans.
So with all the different ways of eating beans that I’ve observed over the years, this is currently my favorite way to eat them. It is also my dad’s favorite bean recipe (minus the ketchup and cheese). I can’t remember if it was my mom or dad who came up with this recipe, or a different person altogether, but whenever my dad cooks and has the choice of how to prepare them, this is the recipe he uses.
Oh and one last tip! I learned this trick from one of my lovely aunts in Mexico (you know who you are). If you really want to take things up a notch, crush a whole bag of original doritos chips and stir them into the beans just before serving. YUM!
I should also talk about the beans that are used in this recipe. My parents use “cabra” beans. Unfortunately, I have yet to find them in Canada (so if anyone knows where to find them, let me know!). I’m slowly making my way through the bag of beans that my parents brought me from Mexico. I would say that the closest beans I found to the “cabra” beans, are pinto beans. I have tried making this recipe with pinto beans. It’s good, but honestly not quite the same. So, if you ever get your hands on “cabra” beans, never let them go! And bring me some while you’re at it! 😉
I hope you try out this bean recipe. It makes an excellent meal for quick warm ups, when time is not your friend. Canning the beans is probably what takes the longest, but even that is actually quite easy once you get started. The most emotionally damaging part about the canning process for me, is probably how much the pressure cooker scares me every time, haha. I’m always so scared it’s going to explode on me! I mean, really, you can opt out of using a pressure cooker, but it speeds things up, which is why I keep on doing it (plus to make use of wonderful gift from my parents!).
The recipe posted below assumes you already have homemade canned beans. If you need to know how to can them, here’s how: in a large bowl, soak the desired amount of beans overnight in hot water. Make sure to add a couple of extra inches of water, as the beans will swell quite a lot. The following day drain the water, add the beans to a strainer, run cold water over them, and rinse them thoroughly. Add beans to your pressure cooker (or other pot, which will take longer). The amount will depend on the size of your pressure cooker (my pressure cooker is medium sized, and I add about 5 cups of soaked beans to my pressure cooker). You basically want to fill most of the pot with beans, about an inch below the pot’s limit, and then fill it with room-temperature water all the way to the limit (about 1/2 to 1 inch above the beans). Add salt to taste (I add about 3/4 Tbsp. of salt), and about 3 halved cloves of garlic. Seal the pressure cooker according to the instructions. Bring to a boiling point on high until the pressure builds, then turn it to low for about 20 minutes, making sure it continues to simmer/boil. When the time is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure settle completely before opening your pressure cooker. Finally, immediately after taking off the lid, fill your preferred size of canning jars with beans, seal tightly, and let cool until all the lids have popped. Store in the refrigerator until they are ready to be used.
I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, and even though I’m a day late, VIVA MEXICO!
Dad's Favourite Beans
- 1 L homemade canned cabra or pinto beans
- 2 good dollops of butter or margarine
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 small zucchinis, sliced, and cut into small quarters
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter or margarine in a pan.
- Add the onion and fry on medium-high while cutting up the tomatoes.
- Add the diced tomatoes and continue frying while cutting up the zucchini.
- Add the zucchini, salt and pepper, and continue frying until all liquids have evaporated, and the mixture begins to brown (this adds great flavour).
- Add the beans, bringing them back to a boiling point, then lower the heat to medium low, and simmer for another 10 minutes to incorporate the flavours.
- Optional: stir in a bag of crushed doritos chips just before serving
- Optional toppings: ketchup, grated cheese
- Optional sides: warmed up and buttered corn tortillas, avocado, veggies or salad
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