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Enfrijoladas

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Enfrijoladas are one of the most beloved humble dishes made out of beans in Mexico. I almost can imagine some Mexican grandma in a hurry trying to make a meal with ingredients for two that will serve four or six with the beans she had. So Bad-a-bim! …she created a sauce, in order to stretch the beans, for all to eat. Aren’t these kinds of recipes the ones that everybody loves the most?…Serendipity in the kitchen can work love spells, just like this recipe.

Imagine fresh corn tortillas smothered in a smooth velvety bean sauce that has been seasoned and tinted with dry chiles. This dish features smokey anchos and a bright flavor guajillo chiles, sauteed onions and a couple of garlic cloves, all seasoned and blended to create a light and velvety bean sauce. Enfrijoladas are the cousins of enchiladas, only lighter. This velvety sauce, has a mild spice flavor, that in combination with the earthy and creamy bean texture make the most luscious bean sauce.

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Mexican Beans Manifesto

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Cooked, de la Olla, or Refried… I want to share with you my love for beans and how I bean.

I’m from Mexico. Along with corn, this simple food is a staple in our national diet. There are many great foods from my homeland but homemade beans have a way to my heart. The warm earthiness, texture, and flavor of a well-prepared pot of beans, this is my comfort food. In fact “frijoles de la olla” boil-cooked beans are my “last supper” meal. With this said, you can imagine I’m very particular and appreciative about identifying truly great beans.

My love affair with beans’ simplicity that made me realize how many versions of “how to cook beans” are out there. They utilize many ingredients, cooking methods, pots, herbs, you name it, and yet most miss the mark for me when it comes to authentic style Mexican beans. I can not understand how something so simple to make has been so misunderstood. I feel the deep responsibility to clear this confusion and define Mexican style beans. After this, you will discover an untroubled path in preparing this Mexican caviar.

Keep it simple. Slow down. When it comes to beans, It is about respecting the ingredient. Slowly and patiently cooking a pot of beans will yield the best pot of beans you ever had. Why cook them from scratch? they taste far better than from the can, period. So let’s start.

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Yankee-Mex Bison Chili

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Probably this recipe may offend a few of our Texas cooks. Please don’t let the title of this recipe scare you away… Bare with me, you, dear Texans.

This chili with beans recipe is what results of a marriage, between a South Mexican girl and a Northern Michigan boy. My chili has to have beans. As you know we live in Texas, which I believe there must be a written law somewhere about no beans in chili. We hope we don’t get into trouble, but if we do, with all your respect, heck yeah!, I want a pot of this trouble for any given Texan winter night.

I’m using Ground Bison full of rich meaty flavor, lots of character and the right amount of fat. To complement the ground bison, I used a type of black bean called Rio Zape. They are a bit larger than black beans, meatier, creamy and with a very earthy flavor, than when cook it produces the most delicious cloudy broth. I love this bean flavor win combination with all the chili spices. A dash of Apple cider vinegar to brighten up the chili powders it’s must. Garnish with sour cream, onions, and Colby cheese. A side of freshly baked cornbread is the perfect accomplice. This Yankee-Mex chili has a great depth of flavor, from the ancho chile, a bright mild spiciness from New Mexico chili powder and a hint of lingering spice from a dash of cayenne pepper. Its well balanced flavors and the right consistency will warm up your inside out. Let’s cook!

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Carne en su Jugo Jalisco Style

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This recipe is dear to my heart. A traditional dish from the city I was born: Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. It brings me lots of memories from my Mom’s cooking. You see my Mom is not an avid cook; but the dishes she prepared for my brother and I when we where little, where always prepared in a delicious manner, and well seasoned with love. This is one of my Mom’s best dishes for sure.

Now, how can something so simple and humble as a combination of beans, meat, and a simple broth can be so darned good? I do not know, but once you make sense out of this combination of ingredients that seems to want to be a guisado, but is not a guisado, and wants to be a soup, but its not a soup, once you prepare it, you will understand why I like it so much.

What is not to like about thinly sliced juicy meat, flavored with a little bacon, simmering in its own juices, along with fresh cooked beans and their broth, some herbs, chile and tomatillos? The result it is far better than it reads, or than it looks. It is a loose stew. Perfect for the transitional weather, when you almost want it to be Fall or Winter but its not there yet. And of course it is a must make dish on a rainy or cold weather day. Easy to prepare, one pot situation.

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Rancho Gordo Corona Beans with Spicy Cilantro Pesto

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Beans are the perfect food to cook during this seasonal transition. You know, those days when the weather shows a great deal of indecisiveness . Cold-warm-windy-rain-sunny all in one week. What to cook? Beans. Whether you add them to vegetable soups, tacos or salads they are always there for you as a quick route to make great meals. The trick to it is a little simple plan, a slow cooker, and patience (my little grasshopper).
Beans don’t like to be rushed. They like to soak over night,( preferably) and they like to cook at a steady low, low simmer almost like one bubble per 3 seconds. They like to be cooked in plenty of water lightly seasoned. Usually a piece of onion and one dry or fresh chile is all they need. Salt should always be added at last once the beans are cooked and are soft enough to absorb the salty flavor. They also love clay pots, slow cookers, cast iron pots, Dutch ovens, or any heavy pot that retains even heat and keeps them well snuggled.
As you can see once you have these four factors down it is extremely easy to make a great batch of beans. I always make a big pot of beans and freeze small batches. I can’t tell you enough how much of a life saver this is. Even if you forget to take them out of the freezer, It will take 10-15 minutes to defrost in a microwave or a conventional pot with a lid on. Frozen beans keep for up to four months. I make a batch every month and a half and it works great for the two of us.

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Now let’s talk about what kind of beans to cook. For those who have not yet read our “about” page, Beans are my favorite grain and my ultimate last supper. Being from Mexico, beans are a huge part of our everyday diet. So, I am always looking for the ultimate bean, fresh and of good quality, that cooks evenly and has great flavor. I finally found it a few years ago when In the search for a bean that tasted like the ones home, I ran into Rancho Gordo. The first time I saw this brand was at wholefoods. Unfortunately they do not carry them any longer, but the good news is that you can buy them online. Rancho Gordo is not only a brand, Steve Sando owner, and grower is dedicated to find and save heirloom bean grains. He is part of Seed Saver Exchange where he rescues and grows beans and grains of the Americas.
He is recuperating our American diet roots. From North America, Mexico, Central and South America. Me being Mexican, knowing any one with this kind of mission goes straight to my heart.
My favorite beans Ayocote negro, Mayocoba, Midnightblack, Rosa de Castilla, Royal Corona uff etc…
If you are a bean fan like me, you can enroll into the Rancho Gordo Bean Club. Yes, you read that correctly, they will send you an amazing bean allowance 4 times a year. Also, you can enjoy some of the rare bean varieties. For more details click here: Rancho Gordo website

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As you can read I’m a 100% bean lover.
I hope you enjoy this recipe these Corona beans are a special type of bean, they are huge almost the size of a prune. In flavor they are buttery, potatoey and very starchy. These beans are easy to pair with any meal or a satisfying main dish for a meatless Monday. This bean does require the pre soaking overnight, it’s a must so plan ahead. Once they have been soaked, they cook more evenly and plump up.
I hope you like the recipe, which I feel is more like a pairing since it is so effortless.
Get into the bean club soon! Enjoy!

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For the recipe you will need…

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Huevos Rancheros

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This is the perfect breakfast on a rainy weekend morning. Or a even cold snowy morning, if you live north of Texas. The origin of this dish is unknown to me yet very familiar. It’s a classic everywhere in Mexico. There are dozens of variations with different toppings and seasonings from various regions, families, grandmas,  mercados, or restaurants. This is the dish in its purest form. All principles items include fried eggs, dried chiles, tomato sauce, tortillas, and that last onion section that you didn’t quite finish on Thursday. This Mexican one pan wonder is the weekend antidote when you wake up extra hungry and craving a breakfast worth making. Imagine the creamy runniness of a sunny side up egg, smothered with savory spicy warm salsa over soft fried corn tortillas, a side of black beans, crema, and queso fresco. I would wake up to that in a flash!

My Huevos Rancheros version gets a side of black beans which I prepare almost every month by cooking a large batch in a slow cooker. I make little portion bags that I freeze for quick use. It makes my life easier and tastier. Ian calls them “Beansicles”. They are very easy to defrost and use either whole or smashed when ever needed they are there for you. Now, what you need from the pantry is that forgotten can of tomatoes. Please check your refrigerator drawers for a couple of fresh ones if in season. I always have my staple dry chiles in the pantry. Dried chiles are miracle workers. I can make salsa in a flash, or spice up soups or even hot cocoa like this. Fresh chiles? Yes, please! Serranos, jalapeños, chipotles en adobo; for me all variations are delicious as long you follow the ranchero principle: simple sauce + fried egg + corn tortilla + beans = Best Huevos Rancheros. Please no melty cheese in my Rancheros, save it for a quesadilla.

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One of my favorite version of Huevos Rancheros Its the one you are about to see, easy enough to prepare them before coffee, and the spicy kick to the sauce will add to your morning wake up.
Huevos Rancheros cures hangovers, rainy mornings, helps you forget weekly stress, and fuels the most ambitious of Caudillos. Its uncomplicated preparation will give you a boost of confidence and culinary accomplishment. The way I prepare them could work for bigger crowds if arranged on a large platter or  for a brunch with friends or neighbors. All you have to do is learn how to fry an egg and combine 4 ingredients for a killer salsa. Enjoy!

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Huevos Rancheros

Serves 1 Güerito and 1 Mexican

4 Eggs (ranchero faces drawing optional)
4 corn tortillas best kind you kind find.
Corn oil or your frying oil of preference enough to fry the eggs. about 2-3 glugs.
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup Black beans whole or fried is up to your preference.

For the Sauce:

1-1/2 cups roasted tomatoes I used roasted canned, if using fresh when in season you will need about 4 Roma tomatoes.
6-8 Chiles de Arbol  (For amateurs please start with 3-4 chiles. When this dry chiles get toasted, the flavor profile is a bit smoky and much milder in spice, so do not fear them!)
1 garlic clove
1/8 onion
Salt and black pepper

Toppings:

1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
2 tablespoons Mexican crema
1-2 fresh cilantro sprigs

Quick pickled onions:

1/8 onion slivered and rinsed*, 1/2 lime juice, one good pinch of salt, one good pinch Mexican dry oregano, combine everything on a small dish, wait for 10 minutes, serve. * I always like to rinse my onions when they gonna be eaten raw, it smooths away that sharp taste, and you will not have to brush your teeth five times before the flavor on your palate is gone.

 

Preparation:

1. Start by preparing all your toppings, warm up your beans, make the quick pickled onions, set a side.

2. Remove the stems of all your dry chiles de arbol. On a medium size frying pan, (good enough o fry some sunny side up eggs) place about two glugs of Corn oil over medium high heat, add the chiles and toast them tossing often, until a deep dark red. Remove the chiles, and add 1/8 of an onion for a quick sauté. Remove the onion, turn of the pan. In a Blender or with the help of an immersion blender Combine the roasted tomatoes, the toasted chiles, one garlic clove, the sautéed onion, 1/2 cup water,salt and a bit of black pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

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3. Warm up over medium high heat the same pan and oil you use to toast the chiles and onion. There should be plenty of oil to sauté the corn tortillas. If not enough add a bit more oil. Oil must be hot before soft frying the tortillas. Cook the tortillas in the oil one by one both sides. Tortillas should have a toasty color and they should be playable. Place the tortillas as you go into the plates; one tortilla per egg.

4. Using the same pan and oil fry your eggs. I like to fry 2 eggs at the time, so they have lots of room and the temperature of the pan does not drop. I like my eggs with a bit of crunchy edges but soft runny yolks. It’s really up to you, cook them up to your preference. Place the eggs on top of the tortillas one egg per tortilla as you go. Remember that it is important letting the pan and oil to come up to hot temperature in-between egg batches. Like I said, I like sunny side up eggs in this recipe so I do not over cook the yolks. In fact I leave them a little under done, so when I pour the warm sauce over the eggs, it will warm them up and finish the cooking  to a perfect creamy runniness. Take this in consideration when your cooking your eggs.

5. Once your eggs are ready, in the same pan with the remaining oil and while it warm add the sauce. (Be careful sauce might get a bit feisty, you might end up with a polka dot pajama!). Lower the heat. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sauce should be rich and at the same time lose enough to cover the eggs. If the sauce is too tick add a bit of water or chicken stock, if to loose keep reducing it.

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6. Taste your sauce for seasonings and adjust if needed. Sauce your eggs with plenty of warm sauce. Place leftover sauce in a small bowl and take it to the table for an extra spoon or two.
Serve a couple of tablespoons of  black beans on the side, top with queso fresco, crema, cilantro for garnish and the quick pickled onions on the side. Enjoy!

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 Huevos Rancheros, A great rainy weekend breakfast!

Music Pairing: Pedro Infante – El Ranchero

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