Frijol con Puerco (Pork and Beans)
This dish is from the state of Yucatán, but it is also loved in nearby states such as Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco.
One of the first things I learned when I moved to Tabasco was that Mondays were Frijol con Puerco Day. Now I understand why. Monday was laundry day, and back then, the women had to spend long hours doing the laundry by hand. The ease of making a simple stew allowed them to dedicate their time to other chores while the food simmered in the kitchen. This custom continues to this day, as many eateries and restaurants serve this dish on Mondays.
This is one of those dishes that tastes better when reheated, so double this recipe and freeze some for later.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 1 cup dried black beans
- 4 cups water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 white onion
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 small sprig epazote
- Salt, to taste
To Garnish and Serve
- 6 small radishes, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup chopped white onion
- Lime wedges (optional)
- Chiltomate salsa (optional) (see Notas)
- Arroz blanco (recipe follows)
Before cooking the beans, check to see if there are any broken or dried-up ones and remove them. Rinse the beans and place them in a large stockpot or casserole. Cover with the water and add the garlic and onion. Remove any beans that float to the surface, as these are probably too old and damaged.
Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot to allow some of the steam to be released. Cook the beans for about 40 minutes, then add the pork and epazote, and season with the salt. Continue cooking for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the meat and beans are tender. If the broth reduces too much, add about 1/4 cup hot
water. Taste the stew to see if it needs more salt.
Serve in large bowls and place the garnishes and rice in serving dishes for everyone to customize their own.
If using an Instant Pot, cook the beans for 15 minutes, then release the pressure valve, add the pork, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. If using a slow cooker, cook the beans on the low setting for 3 hours, then add the pork and continue cooking for 3 more hours.
This dish tastes even better when it’s made with pork ribs, so replace half the pork shoulder with ribs to enhance the flavors.
To make the chiltomate salsa, place 2 plum tomatoes, 2 onion slices (1/2 inch thick), and 1 habanero pepper in a hot skillet. Cook them evenly, about
8 minutes, and remove promptly. Make a smooth salsa using a molcajete or a blender, adding a little bit of water if needed.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico” by Mely Martínez. Text and photography copyright 2020 by Mely Martínez. First published in 2020 by Rock Point, an imprint of The Quarto Group.