No cuisine does beans better than the Mexican. When the Spaniards arrived in the New World, they discovered a large variety of unfamiliar edible plants, among them many new types of legumes. Mexico is the origin of most shell beans, excluding broad or fava beans (North Africa and Asia), chickpeas (Middle-East), lentils (Greece), and black-eyed peas or cowpeas (West Africa). In Mexico, beans are an essential part of cuisine and are typically served at every meal.
Most archeologists believe the bean plant’s cultivation began in Mexico around seven millennia ago. So valuable were beans that the Aztecs often asked for them as tribute payment. Pinto beans are predominant in northern Mexico, pale yellow peruanos and pale purple flor de mayo in central Mexico, while black beans are the favorite everywhere south of Mexico City. Black beans have an intense earthy flavor, pinto beans are creamy and mild; peruano, mayocoba or flor de mayo beans tend toward a sweeter, starchy flavor. Try some with your next meal to see how great Mexican black beans can be.
Oaxacan Frijoles Cocidos y Frijoles Negros Colados – Black Beans Two Ways
- Instant Pot
- Food Processor, blender or potato hand masher (for refried beans)
- Large skillet
Frijoles Cocidos (basic Instant Pot cooked beans)
- 1 lb Black or another bean, unsoaked
- 1 medium White onion, chopped
- 8 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 6 cups Chicken or vegetable stock, unsalted
- 1 tsp Ground cumin
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 3 Bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
Frijoles Negros Colados (Refried black beans)
- 1 lb Beans and liquid from Instant Pot basic cooked beans
- 1 medium White onion, unpeeled
- 1 head Garlic, unpeeled
- 3 medium Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 tbsp Epazote, dried or fresh (optional)
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Garlic salt
Basic Instant Pot Cooked Beans
- Prepare Vegetables – Set Instant Pot to "Sauté" and then "Sauté More". When display says "HOT", add oil to pot. Stir in onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add in ground cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Sauté 1 minute, add garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.
- Deglaze – Pour ½ cup chicken broth into pot and scrape up loose bits from bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Cook Beans – If making refried beans with these cooked beans, add unpeeled onion and garlic head here. Otherwise, stir in beans, a pinch of salt, and remaining chicken broth. With venting knob in "Venting Position", close lid and set knob to "Sealing." Hit "Pressure Cook" then "High Pressure". Cook for 50 minutes then allow to "natural release" for 20 minutes. Carefully turn knob to "Manual Release" to release any remaining pressure. When pin drops, remove cover.
- Serve or use for refried beans recipe – If unpeeled onions added for refried bean recipe, remove and discard. If not, add 3 pinches salt. If serving wet or, if using for refried beans, remove extra unpeeled onion and garlic head and proceed with refried beans recipe below. Beans can also be reserved without liquid to use in burritos and tacos.
- Process Beans – Separate and save liquid and discard unpeeled onion and garlic head. Add beans, epazote, if using, and garlic salt to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add reserved liquid to get desired consistency, then sprinkle in chopped jalapeno and 3-4 pinched salt. Serve in a bowl or on individual plates.