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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cooking with black beans and other beans

Black beans

Each type of bean has its special flavor and quality. I think that the best way of cooking beans is doing what Mexicans do. Cook them in a simple way. Use an earthenware if you have one, flavor them with lard and a little bit of white onion and no more! use epazote for black beans

Timing your beans.

Never soak beans in water the night before. Black beans will lose some of their color and soaked beans lose their vitamins and mineral properties

Always clean your beans from any debris and rinse them on your hand under cold running water to remove any traces of dirt

Always start your beans in hot water, bring this to a simmer, then cover and cook them for about 3 hours maybe more, cook them until they are very soft. 2 1/2 hours should be enough time for the other varieties. It is difficult to be precise. (much will depend on the age of the beans, how long they have been stored, and if they have dried out too much) Add salt and cook for another half hour or until the beans are completely soft


The fresh leaves, or a whole stem with leaves, are used extensively in the cooking of central and southern Mexico. It is indispensable for black beans, tortilla soup and other brothy soups, quezadillas and in many other recipes. Never use dry epazote

Epazote is available in Kensington Market and in some other markets here in Toronto

Pork lard

Pork lard is extensively used in Mexico and still preferred by many traditional cooks, especially for moles, for tamales and for antojitos. it gives food a distinctive taste and it is a favorite one in my kitchen

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