Sunday, April 15, 2012

Truly Mexican: Beans with Pork

I actually made this bean dish last night as part of my Mexican dinner, but I wanted to see what they tasted like the next day.  I figured they would benefit from an overnight visit to the refrigerator, and they do improve with time.  If you have any left, that is.

The beans are incredibly flavorful, and I honestly think that the bacon is all that is really needed, although I'm sure I would be perfectly happy to wolf them down if pork threads were floating happily side-by-side with the beans.  In fact, with the pulled pork the recipe originally called for, this would be a meal unto itself.  The applewood smoked bacon certainly added a nice smokey flavor that went well with the mild beans and the spicy sauce.

Beans with Pork
From Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibanez

1¼ ounces guajillo chiles (8), wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded, and deveined
⅓ ounce dried arbol chiles (10), wiped clean and stemmed
4 garlic cloves
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1 cup water
4 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, including liquid, plus 1 cup water
4 cups carnitas
2 ounces sliced bacon, diced (about 2 slices)
½ cup finely chopped white onion

Heat a comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and toast the guajillos, a few at a time, turning them over and pressing them down frequently with tongs, until they're fragrant and their insides have changed color slightly, about 1 minute per batch.  Toast the arbol chiles, turning them over and pressing them down frequently with tongs, until they are brown all over and blackened in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Soak the chiles in enough cold water to cover until they're softened, about 30 minutes.  Drain and discard the soaking water.

Blend the chiles with the garlic, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, and the 1 cup of fresh water to form a smooth puree, at least 3 minutes.

Combine the chile puree, pinto beans (including the bean liquid and water), and the pork in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes.  Add the onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the bacon mixture (including the fat) to the pot with the beans and pork, cover the pot, and simmer everything together for 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt.

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