“Beans in a Pot”
Frijoles de la Olla, which translates as “beans in a pot“, is probably the most common dish in Mexico. Beans along with corn and chiles are the foundation of Mexican cooking. Every family has a pot of beans on the stove or in the refrigerator at all times and almost every meal includes beans. Frijoles de la olla are the basis for refried beans and are used in many other Mexican dishes.
The beans we used to make frijoles de la olla are Flor de Junio, or “June Flower,” a creamy, delicious variety eaten in Central Mexico. They may be difficult to find locally, but, you can buy them online through Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans. Their Flor de Junio beans are grown by small farmers in the state of Guanajuato under the supervision of the Rancho Gordo-Xoxox Project. Beans vary greatly in taste and texture. Be adventurous and try as many different varieties as you can.
We recommend cooking your beans in a clay pot, called an “olla” in Spanish, which adds an earthiness to the flavor. But, don’t worry if you don’t have one. Beans taste great cooked in any type of pot. A slow cooker is another great way to cook beans. Set-it and forget-it and 8 hours later you have a perfect batch of beans.
The clay cooking pot makes an impressive serving dish on the table.
- Serve a bowl frijoles de la olla as a simple lunch with a stack of hot corn tortillas to dip in the broth.
- Serve as a side dish for just about anything.
- Serve with a dollop of fresh Mexican cream.
- Serve with chopped onion, cilantro and serrano chile.
- Use the beans to make tacos de frijol or as a garnish for beef tacos.
- Use the beans to make the sauce for enfrijoladas.
- 1 pound of beans (pintos, black beans, flor de mayo, flor de junio)
- ½ white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 fresh epazote leaves or ½ teaspoon dried epazote
- 1 teaspoon of salt (add more to taste if required)
- Check the beans for any stones or debris.
- In a colander, rinse the beans under cold water.
- Place the beans in the cooking pot and cover with 3 inches of water.
- Allow the beans to soak overnight.
- Discard the soaking water.
- Add cold water to cover the beans by 4 inches.
- Add the ½ white onion and 2 cloves of garlic.
- Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer the beans for 2 hours.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Simmer for 30 more minutes.
- Taste the beans to verify that they are fully cooked and soft. If they are not soft enough cook for additional 30 minutes.
- Adjust the salt to taste and serve.
A slow cooker or pressure cooker are a great ways to cook beans.
Beans will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can freeze them but it will change the texture.
Buy your beans from a market that sells lots of beans. Fresh is better. The older the beans the tougher they will be.
You make make frijoles de la olla with pinto beans, black beans, flor de mayo or flor de junio beans.
If you can't find epazote you can omit it or substitute Mexican oregano. The oregano changes the taste slightly but is still very good.