Let's Make Pork and Beans, Norteño-Style
As you can imagine, I have a rather large (O.K., huge) collection of cookbooks, especially on Mexican food. Before everyone and his brother was writing about Mexican food, there was very little good stuff available. I still love collecting less than helpful, pre-Diana Kennnedy era, cookbooks. There is so much wrong with most of them but you can't help thinking they maybe got one or two things right and the enthusiasm (and often the graphics) are charming. One huge exception to these old books is Cooking and Curing with Mexican Herbs by Dolores L. Latorre, a book focusing on the cuisine and herbs of Northern Mexico. Most of the food is simple and there are very few compromises, which is nice. When you consider the book was written in 1977, it's impressive. This is a simple recipe for Puerco Con Frijoles (Pork and Beans) and I've exchanged the ubiquitous pintos with our exceptional Eye of the Goat, a bean that would also be right at home in Coahuila, Mexico. Puerco con frijoles Serves 6 1/2 pound lean pork, cut into 1 inch cubes 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 serrano chiles, seeds and veins removed 1 teaspoon Oregano Indio 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon oil 3 cups cooked Eye of the Goat beans (or Pintos) salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Brown pork in oil; add the onion, garlic and chiles and stir until the onion is glazed. Add Oregano Indio, cumin, about 1/2 cup of bean broth, salt, and pepper, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Combine with beans and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Serve hot with bowls of raw chopped onion, fresh table salsa and limes so guests can help themselves to the toppings. (Adapted from Cooking and Curing with Mexican Herbs (Encino Press 1977) by Dolores L. LaTorre) Buy Eye of the Goat heirloom beans at Rancho Gordo. Buy Oregano Indio at Rancho Gordo.