Ever since I spent a summer in Cuba where black beans are ubiquitous and each family has their own special slow simmered recipe I have liked frijoles Negro and buy them, eat them or order them in restaurants. They are flavorful, cheap and versatile!
This winter, I’ve even bought them dried from the Tuesday market for about 6 pesos a half kilo and soaked them overnight in anticipation of making my breakfast burrito. I make this rice and bean concoction in quantity to freeze, defrost and warm up to make an oh so cheap, satisfying and high fiber desayuno! I also use a can or packet or two of refried beans for moisture and this is a good way to use up any odds and ends onions or green peppers that may not be at their ultimate freshest.
To make a whole pot while you are at it, simply cook half a pot of rice, any kind and then mix in the different kinds of beans, onions, jalapenos, what have you and there you are. If I have a can of coconut milk I use that for about half of the liquid to make the rice which is something I picked up during a trip to Belize one spring break. This gives the rice a wonderful tropical yet subtle flavor. Each batch will be slightly different and that’s part of the appeal!
I have also used scrambled eggs with this mixture when assembling the burritos in the morning but it is not essential. You would be amazed at how much you can put into a supple tortilla!
Tia Rosa is a muy bueno brand to pick up at Sorianas o Mega but fresh tortilleria are everywhere. Just remember that a kilo of tortillas is about 50 so modify your order unless you are feeding a crowd at a fiesta. Nothing like standing in line for your quarter or half a kilo of fresh, warm tortillas right off the creaky tortilla machine wrapped up and eating a few off the top of the stack totally unadorned. Each tortilleria makes slightly different or even flavored ones so keep some loose change in your pocket whenever you see a line up at one join the queue!
It’s no wonder that tortillas are a staple even north of the border because they can be used for such a wide variety of dishes, flat, fresh, dried, rolled, layered and chit into strips for tortilla soup! I don’t know about you but there’s kind of an’acid test’ dish for every ethnic restaurant. For Thai it’s pad Thai and for Mexican it’s tortilla soup.
Earlier this month I picked up some chorizo flavored vegetable ground ‘meat’ to try out. Sometimes these meat substitutes are a bit lame but in this rice and bean concoction they should be well camouflaged. Previously, I’ve even tested this fake ground beef on staunch meat eaters with no protest or mutiny!
The link above is a nice collection of simple black bean recipes that can be prepared even in a mini kitchen like mine with a two burner counter top gas hormone/stove. It’s sheep the trash down the long driveway to the gate day so I’m up early to make up my next rice and beans batch that when portioned into freezer bags generally last a couple of weeks ma o menos.
This post does remind me that sometime on April, my finale month I simply must fit in a cooking class or two. Tomorrow,I rip off month four on my calendar. Yes, already…