Sunday, September 4, 2011

Epazote & Frijole con Puerco: Yucatan Pork & Beans


Epazote ("eh pah ZOH tay") is an herb traditionally used to flavor black beans whose name is is derived from Nahuatl: epazōtl. It is believed to reduce the flatulence caused by beans, and has a distinctive flavor that you will recognize if you've eaten bean soup in Isla Mujeres. You will see it in most gardens or in containers on patios and roofs around the island.. It grows about three feet tall with tiny green flowers and a weedy appearance. It is an essential ingredient in Yucatan style pork and beans. Outside of Mexico, it is found in markets catering to people from the Caribbean or Latin America, or is available as a dried spice.

Frijole con Puerco
You are likely to find this dish in the "cocina economicas" in Isla Mujeres on Mondays, when it is traditionally eaten. Fresh condiments in abundance are a common feature of Yucantan  dishes, and this is no exception. Usual garnishes are onion, cilantro, limon, and radish, with a dish or two of hot sauce on the side. And of course fresh hot tortillas. The original recipe called for wild boar, which are still hunted in the interior of Quintana Roo.

2 cups dried black beans sorted and rinsed      
14 cups water
1 tsp lard or oil
½ onion
2 # boneless pork, cut into chunks
2 sprigs epazote
3-5 Serrano chilies
1 tsp salt
Place beans in a large pot, add 10 cups of water, lard & onion.
Boil 5 minutes.
Cook covered over medium heat for 1 hour.
Add pork, remaining water, epazote and chilies. Cook covered over medium heat for another hour. Add water as needed.
Add the salt and cook for 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
Serve with roasted salsas and fresh condiments, including cilantro, onion, radish, and limon.

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