Letters From Andy
Mexican Style Beans with Hoja Santa
- 2 cups dry pintos or other pinto style bean, soaked overnight
- 1 white onion, peeled, halved lengthwise through the root end
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon hoja santa (dry)
- 1 guajillo chile, stemmed and seeded
- 6 cups water
From Chef Jonathan Miller: Use these beans in many ways: pull out the aromatics and serve as soupy beans with queso or cotija and a spicy pepper paste and tortillas. Or scoop out the beans with a strainer for quesadillas with cabbage, onion and cheese. Or, remove the bay leaf and blend with some water, then fry the beans in oil or lard for refried beans, then use those on tacos or tostadas. They can also be simply served side by side (whole or refried) with Mexican rice or white rice with queso and salsa, and tortillas.
Drain your beans, then put them in a pot with the remaining ingredients plus six cups water and some salt (start with 2 teaspoons.)
Bring to a simmer and cook slowly, covered or not, until the beans are soft and tender (start checking at 35 minutes or so). Taste the bean broth. If it tastes really good, keep cooking the beans until they are very tender and pleasing to eat. If the water tastes a bit insipid, add a little more salt until it tastes really good, but isn’t too salt.
Continue dooking the beans until they are very tender and delicious. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to cool in the liquid.