Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another delicious variation on Mexican frijoles

There have to be a million variations of the savory, nutricious basic Mexican dish centered around pinto beans. We have already covered the recipe used by a chuckwagon cook in the old cattle drive days, here, and we have mentioned a less-spicy, dialed back version for those who might prefer a less hearty, more side dish-like, recipe.

Now we're going to go back to the original recipe, but using Anasazi beans, as recommended by one commenter under the original recipe. These are supposedly the beans cultivated by the original Anasazi Indians, of the famous cliff dwellings in the four corners area. We can't verify that, but we can verify that they are smaller than pinto beans, and far more cute. Their taste is still savory, a little more delicate than pintos, with a silky texture.

Again going back to the original recipe, for peppers we have used chili piquines, the tiny, berry-like peppers that grow wild over much of Texas and New Mexico. They are hotter than fire, however, so we used only about a dozen for a pound of beans, resulting in a low-heat factor that shouldn't scare off the timid.

Notice that these peppers, dried after being harvested, need to be ground before being added to the pot. The traditional Mexican way to do this is with a molcahete (from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs) and mano, made from rough volcanic rock. It's a country cousin to the mortar and pestle, more or less, and it is also useful in quickly pulverizing other spices too. They are probably available from specialty cooking stores.

(More recipes in the right column, beneath the photo of cranberry/apple pie a la mode)


Danielle said...

I think I might have to try some of these. The mild one for me and my daughter, the hot one for Hubs and son. My husband loves pinto beans too, will have to give these a go.

maybe you should write a kindle recipe book too....?

Al said...

I should have pointed out that the smaller Anasazi beans cook faster than the bigger pintos...but then most cooks test as they go, so you'd discover it yourself. Bon apetit!