Cooking beans over the stove is not exactly how I want to spend a hot summer day. But who can resist home cooked beans?
This recipe is a take on Frijoles de olla, or pot beans, that are traditionally cooked in a clay pot–imparting a richer, smoky flavor. I don’t have a clay pot and these days I’m pretty well occupied during the day, so I substituted a crock pot as my vessel.
Epazote is a key ingredient in this recipe. A Mexican herb grown since pre-hispanic times, epazote has a unique flavor that truly cannot be substituted. It adds an incredible depth of flavor to pot beans and many other Mexican dishes. It’s flavor is easily lost in cooking, so I add it at the end (last 15 minutes or so), about the time I add the salt.
- 1 pound dry beans
- 6 cups water, boiling
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, quartered
- 2 tsp salt
- 2-3 sprigs epazote
- Start by cleaning the beans. Sort through the dried beans and pick out any stones or broken beans. Then rinse them with water.
- Put the clean beans into the slow cooker pot and toss the onion and garlic in as well.
- Pour the boiling water into the crock and set the slow cooker to high.
- Cook for 3 hours and test the beans. If necessary, continue cooking on high, checking every 15 minutes.
- When the beans are almost tender and cooked through, add the salt and epazote. Stir to incorporate and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the onion, garlic and epazote sprigs before serving.
- Let the beans cool completely before storing. They should keep in the fridge for about a week.
I save the onion and garlic for other dishes, but not as a substitute, since most of their flavor has been stewed into the beans.