Frijoles Pintos o Negros
(Pinto or black beans)

I know it sounds like stereotyping, but -- hey! -- what's Mexican food without beans?

This is the recipe that my in-laws gave me for cooking beans. And for preparing refried beans.

At the end of the original recipe, my mother-in-law wrote:

To avoid the work of cooking frijoles, lots of stores sell cans with already cooked beans. But they don't taste as good.

FRIJOLES PINTOS O NEGROS (Pinto or black beans)

Cooking time: About three hours


1/2 cupPinto beans
1 cupBlack beans (frijoles negros)
1 poundPork meat or two slices of bacon
1/2fresh onion or substitute granulated onion
1garlic clove or substitute
1 heaping tspKnorr chicken bouillon powder
1 Tbspsalt
a few branchesepazote, for frijoles negros

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Check the beans for little stones or dirt clods and rinse the beans well under running water.

  2. Soak the beans in water over-night.

  3. Put all the ingredients in a 5 qt. pot. The level of water should be up to 1-2" lower from the rim.

  4. For black beans, put a few tiny branches of dry cooking epazote into a tea-ball and hang it into the water from the side of the pot.

  5. Bring the water to a boil, then set the flame on low and cook until the beans are tender, for about 3 hours.

To refry the beans:

  1. Put 1 Tbsp. of oil in a skillet, and add the beans without the liquid from them.

  2. Mash them and turn the flame to medium.

  3. Keep stirring until they dry up. Don't let them burn.

My preferences, in part because I don't care for onions:

The epazote, AKA "Mexican tea", is supposed to alleviate the "effects" of the beans. I had difficulty finding it until I went to a Mexican grocery store, where it was with the other spices and herbs packaged in cellophane bags.

Additional Note:

Earlier this year on NPR, I heard that minerals dissolved in the tap water that you use (AKA "hard water") can cause beans to retain their shape and not break down. While this may be desirable with something like Boston backed beans, which she cited as a prime example of this phenomenon, it is not as desirable when you do want the beans to cook down and to contribute more to the caldo, the beans' rich "broth", which is a delightful part of frijoles.

The cook's suggestion was to use bottled water when cooking beans. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to next time.

Share and enjoy!

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First uploaded on 2007 November 16.
Last updated on 2011 July 08.