Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mexican Beans with Epazote

Epazote (Mexican Tea and Wormseed) is an annual herb, native to tropical regions of Central and South America Its green jagged leaves emit aromas of petroleum and citrus while its flavor is pungent, lemony with a sharp finish that increases with age. Epazote is used in many traditional Mexican dishes (especially in Yucatecan dishes.) including tamales, mole de olla, salsa, traditional black beans, pinto beans and enchiladas. It is also a carminative, which means it reduces the gas associated with beans. To maximize flavor, the herb is added during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Epazote (Fresh and Dried) (Click Image to enlarge)

1 Pound pinto beans, dry - Soaked overnight in cold water
2+ Tablespoons rendered pork lard from a shoulder roast
1 Chopped onion
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Sprigs of dried epazote (4 inch long) added the last 30 minutes of cooking
Optionally, 4 Bay leaves and a pinch of Mexican Oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Add water to cover to a depth of three inches and throw away any floaters. Soak overnight. Drain soaked beans. Rinse twice then add fresh water to just cover by 1/2 inch, add lard, crushed red pepper, chopped onion, simmer slowly until almost tender (90 minutes). Now add epazote. Cook another 30 minute until just tender, adding water as necessary. Correct seasoning. Remove pieces of epazote and discard. It is amazing how tasty these beans are.

Garnish cooked beans with chopped mint and crumbled queso fresco. Make a fine burrito with left over spiced roast pork, cilantro, pico-di-gallo, with your favorite tortillas.

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