Quicker Authentic Mexican Black Beans – All the flavor of slow cooked black beans with white onions and epazote but made quicker by using canned black beans.
Black beans are not something I enjoyed much of growing up. Not because they weren’t around or served, I just didn’t like them. In fact, I didn’t fall in love with black beans until college when my dear friend Erik and I went out to lunch and I decided to follow his example and give them another try. I was at least 7 or 8 years old when I last tried them, so no time like the then-present to give them a shot again. I am so glad I did.
Since that lunch many years ago in Provo with Erik, I have been in love black beans. They are my go-to bean. I have them both dried and canned. I love the flavor that comes from slow cooking beans with herbs, spices, and onions. But I don’t always have the time and, quite frankly, the inclination to want to soak my beans overnight, and then boil them for hours on my stove top.
Now if you look at the recipe, you might notice an ingredient called epazote. If you know what it is, skip this next section, but for those of you wondering WTF it is, well keep reading.
Epazote is native to Mexico-I can’t find two websites to agree on where in Mexico. It is similar in its pungency to anise, fennel, and tarragon, but stronger. Black beans is the main way it is used, but can be found in other dishes like tamales, mole, rice, quesadillas, among others. The good news, for centuries it’s been used in teas to alleviate stomach discomfort. So this magical fruit becomes less magical when epazote is used. You can find it in a dried form on the Hispanic aisle of your local market.
Quicker Authentic Mexican Black Beans
- 5-15 oz cans black beans (drain, but do not rinse 2 cans, 3 undrained/unrinsed)
- 1 cup white onion; finely diced/minced
- 2 cloves garlic; minced/grated
- 2 tbsp bacon renderings (lard or olive oil)
- 1 tsp dried epazote
- 1/2 tsp salt +/- to taste
- 2 tbsp crumbled bacon
- Queso fresco , optional.
Cook bacon, reserve 2 tbsp of the rendered fat.
While cooking, open all 5 cans of black beans, only drain two of the cans but DO NOT RINSE; set aside
Reserve 2-3 slices of cooked bacon and crumble.
In a large pot, heat the bacon renderings on medium high, add the onion and garlic; cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions and garlic soften.
Add the epazote, stir well and allow to bloom or become slightly fragrant.
Gently stir in the cans of black beans, one at a time starting with the three undrained cans.
Toss in the bacon, stir gently and bring to a high simmer.
Once simmering, cautiously taste test and begin to add salt to taste, a bit at a time. The salt will intensify as it simmers.
Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring twice and taste for salt. Add more if needed, a bit at a time.
Garnish with queso fresco, if desired, and serve using a slotted spoon.
This recipe have all the flavor you have come to love and expect in your local favorite Mexican restaurant-style black beans. But they are quicker and rather easy to make, saving you from slaving over a hot stove all day long. Traditionally, lard is used, I opted for the much healthier bacon fat (are you laughing, I surely am.) However, if you want to make them vegetarian, use olive oil and also omit the queso fresco if you’re aiming for vegan.
When you’re adding the epazote, you’ll notice it is very coarse and dry, but unlike rosemary, it will soften as it cooks and not stab the roof of your mouth…or shouldn’t anyway.