Sunday, November 4, 2007

Basic Mexican Beans

Beans are cheap and incredibly healthy. Unfortunately, beans seem to have acquired a bad rap as being low-brow, peasant food. I'm not here to argue that point because beans HAVE formed the basis (along with maize) of the Mexican diet since pre-Columbian (you know, Christopher) times. I just think that obese Americans (read: Fatty McFatties) can do their bodies (and their pocketbooks!) a great service by eating more beans. Here's one way to chef up a pot of beans. It's ridiculously easy. And I DO mean ridiculously.

Take one pound of dried beans and sort through. Beans are an agricultural product so you might find some pebbles and stuff like that. Much better to find these BEFORE rather than during consumption, right? What kind of dried bean? I used mayocoba beans but you can also use pintos or black beans. There's a whole world of beans out there so feel free to experiment. Once your beans are picked over, rinse, drain and set aside.

Medium chop a large onion. Set aside. Take three thick pieces of bacon and saute in a pan. You want to render out the fat so you can saute the onions in the bacon fat. When the bottom of the pan is slick with pork grease, toss in the onion

and saute until golden. Say, 10 minutes. Please don't burn the onion.

When the onions are golden, toss in the beans and 2 quarts of water. Keep in mind that the pictures represent a quantity larger than what I'm giving instructions for...I made a triple batch so I could freeze some of the beans.

Add a few heavy pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a bare simmer until the beans are smooth and creamy.

This will take a few hours. I tasted every half an hour until I thought the beans were finished. Add more salt to taste.

This was my afternoon snack:
Freshly cooked beans with crumbled queso fresco and hot sauce. Yummy! One of my favorites...

Since I made a HUGE batch, I also prepared a few baggies for the freezer:
Time-Approximately 2-3 hours, nearly all of it unsupervised.
Food Cost-
Beans- $1.00
Incidentals- $0.50
Total-$1.50/dirt cheap per serving.
Feeds lots of folks. Maybe 6-8 as a side dish.

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