Since pre-Hispanic times, the Maya people of the Yucatan have eaten either the black beans known as buul or the larger, light-colored beans called ibes, usually cooked in water in which chiles have been steeped. This chile broth is the basis for many traditional Yucatecan dishes. In the following version, the chile-tomato puree is added after the beans are tender. This recipe is especially good for an informal cool-weather gathering as a nice change from chili.
- 2 lbs. beans, washed, soaked overnight and drained
- 2 lbs. boneless pork leg meat, cut into small chunks
- 6-8 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 lb tomatoes, roasted and peeled
- 2 habanero chiles, lightly roasted, seeded or not according to preferred degree of “heat”
- salt to taste
- 2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
- 12 large radishes, chopped
- 2 bunches cilantro, stemmed and chopped
Place the beans, pork and garlic in a large pot with 2 quarts water, cover and cook 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Puree the roasted tomatoes and one of the chiles, add to the beans and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Place the chopped onion on a platter, surrounded by the chopped cilantro, and, on the outside, the chopped radishes, so that each diner may garnish the beans to taste.
Serve in deep bowls, accompanied by lemon wedges.
Chop the remaining habanero chile and place it in a separate dish for those who wish to add more ” picante.” Serves 12-15.
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