Tlalpujahua

Tlalpujahua

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Making Beans

My friend Alejandro teases me because I use canned beans in my Mexican cooking.  "Guácala (Yuck)," he says.  According to him you must buy dry beans, and soak them and cook them in "una olla de barro" (a clay pot) as his mother does.  Well, I don't have a clay pot here in the apartment, but I decided to try preparing some "frijoles" using dry black beans.   I bought a bag at the supermarket and soaked them overnight.  The next morning I drained them, put fresh water in the pot, added some chopped onion and peppers, and cooked them on the tiny, two-burner range that I have in my kitchen.





I let them simmer for a couple hours.  The directions on the bag said to cook them for one hour, but at that point they definitely were not done.

After that I started doing my own thing... I don't know if this is the proper way to make refried beans, but it's the way I do it.  I put the beans in a frying pan with olive oil.  I added some chopped jalapeños, some Mexican salsa from a jar, and chunks of two different kinds of Mexican cheese.  I heated it until the cheese had completely melted into the mixture.  After letting it cool a bit, I put the bean mixture into the blender and made a coarse puree.  I prefer my "frijoles" to have some texture and not be too smoothly pureed.

For breakfast I made some scramble eggs mixed with vegetables and my "made from scratch" refried beans.  I sprinkled "panela" cheese on top of the beans and garnished them with "totopos" (tortilla chips). 



I have to admit that the beans tasted better.  Alejandro tried them, and he did not say, "Guácala".

6 comments:

  1. According to my across the street neighbor, who is the main commodities purchaser for Comercial Mexicana the recent 2-month shortage of canned whole beans ( especially black beans ) was due to the fact that most urban Mexicans no longer use dry beans. Their investigations have shown that dry beans are popular with three groups of the population; those who earn under a certain limit, those who have the $$$ to hire help to do the cooking for them and those who have someone ( often mother, grandmother, or live in relative) to cook for them. Tests have shown that with dishes prepared from either type of beans ( canned or dry) virtually no one could discern a difference, while when questioned over 80% said they were sure they could.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. That was very interesting information. I'm not sure about canned beans in Mexico, but I know that most brands in the U.S. are loaded with salt. I did not add any salt to my beans (other than what there was in the cheese and salsa), so that may be the reason for the difference in taste that I detected... and with the lower sodium they are definitely healthier. Alejandro, however, insists that canned beans have a metallic taste.
      Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

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  2. Frankly, I don't think it's that much trouble to soak and cook beans. Yes, you have to plan at least a day ahead, but once soaked, the beans can keep in the fridge for about a week or so if you don't want to cook them right away.

    I eat a lot of dried beans because I like them and because they are very healthful.

    But Droelma's comment is interesting. When Alejandro makes fun of you for using canned beans, you can make fun of him for being old-fashioned.

    All that said, I do have a good friend here who can immediately taste the metallic flavor from canned tomatoes added to a pot of beans. And I'm starting to think I can too, though I don't tend to notice it normally because I'm used to that flavor. You probably are too. Many of us grew up eating canned stuff, so we don't tend to notice the metallic flavor. My friend, though, grew up in rural Vietnam where everything was fresh, so he's not used to that metallic flavor.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we like the immediacy of canned stuff, and have grown fond of Trader Joe's refried beans.

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    1. Some years ago I tried cooking with dried beans to make a Puerto Rican recipe for black bean soup. I soaked the beans, and I cooked them for hours and hours and hours... and the beans still weren't done. That was the last time I used dried beans. Alejandro said that the beans must have been old. That's possible. I don't know that there are that many people in suburban Cleveland buying dry black beans. LOL
      ¡Saludos!

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    2. I think Alejandro is right about them being old. Black beans also tend to go from underdone to mush pretty rapidly, which is fine if that's what you want, but if you want beans with more integrity, then other varieties are better. BTW, I tend to soak my beans for 24 hours or a bit more as that seems to reduce the mushiness factor. Don't ask why, I have no clue.

      Saludos,

      KG
      In B

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    3. The funny thing is that Alejandro's mother says that she doesn't bother to soak the dry beans at all! (And I've tasted the beans she prepares and they taste fine.)
      Personally, I much prefer the taste of black beans to any other variety.

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