Smoky, spicy Chipotle Beef Stew enlivens traditional Mexican Pot Beans. A copy of Mexico: The Cookbook was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links were used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
Is it just me or is Phaidon on a roll? The traditional international cooking titles that have been released in the past few years by Phaidon, The Lebanese Kitchen; Thailand: The Cookbook; Sicily; and now Mexico: The Cookbook are enough to give me tingles in my toes. Seriously. I just love it. Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s Mexico is the latest one I have received, and it is just gorgeous as well.
I’ll get the sole negative out of the way first. Much like The Lebanese Kitchen I do feel like this book could have been edited a little better. For example, one dish was not listed on the page the index claimed it would be, and another dish never included its main ingredient in the instructions. But honestly for someone like me, these issues are trivial. If you like Mexican food, this book provides a wealth of recipes, 700 in fact!!! Some–not many–will not be super accessible to your average American cook, but most are. All of the regions of Mexico are covered, and the tome includes 200 mouthwatering photographs of the dishes.
I was instantly intrigued by this dish because it took a spicy beef stew and then used it as a hefty garnish on traditional pot beans. We love beans but definitely find pot beans a little bland on their own, so this was perfect for us. It also allowed me to make a spicy dish for once, so that each of us could just take as little or as much of the spicier stewed beef as we wanted. I am usually a corn tortilla fanatic, but the dish specifically suggested flour tortillas (which surprised me a bit since the dish originates in Jalisco, which is south of Puerta Vallarta–I think of flour tortilla country as being the north of Mexico). The dish has been adapted, but only in mild ways, like using bacon grease and garlic in the beans, not using epazote, not using beef stock and serving the dish with queso fresco (which I always sub feta for since I have it around). I also did not bother pureeing the stew ingredients because I am lazy like that, and I made the dish partially in my slow cooker. But in general I stayed pretty true to the recipe. We loved it–the beef especially was squabbled over!
One note about timing: your life will be easier if you start both dishes in the morning at the same time. You can use bacon grease from the cooking bacon as your fat in the pot beans, and both take a long time to cook.
I am excited to tell you that in the upcoming weeks I will be running a giveaway of Mexico: The Cookbook, so if you like Mexican food be sure to stay tuned!
- 2 cups dried pinto beans or a similar pink or red bean, soaked overnight
- water to cover by 2 inches
- 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 T bacon grease
- 1 t sea salt, plus more to taste
- 9 oz bacon, chopped
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs boneless stew meat, such as chuck, cubed
- 1 12 oz bottle lager, preferably Mexican
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 T sea salt
- 1 1/2 t ground black pepper
- crumbled bacon
- chopped cilantro
- chopped green onions, green part only
- lemon wedges
- crumbled queso fresco
- diced avocado (I forgot)
- warm flour tortillas
Soak the dried beans in cold water overnight.
The next morning add the beans and their soaking water to a large dutch oven. Add the bacon grease (I used grease from the stew recipe--you could also use lard) chopped onion, minced garlic and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Place on a burner over medium high heat.
Bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Cover. Check on every few hours to see if the beans are getting tender and to make sure they are still covered by water.
When the beans are nearly tender, add the salt.
Continue cooking until they are perfectly tender. If this is long before dinner, just set aside and reheat before dinner.
Place the bacon in a skillet (or cooktop safe slow cooker insert or Dutch oven--if using a Dutch oven preheat the oven to 300 F) over medium low heat. Cook until crispy and then remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
Pour some of the bacon grease off into the beans--leave about 1-2 tablespoons.
Brown the beef for about 7 minutes in the same pot, now at medium high heat.
Add the beer and let it cook for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, chipotle chiles, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Place the slow cooker insert onto the slow cooker base, or scrape the ingredients into the slow cooker insert. You can also just cover a Dutch oven and place it in the oven. Cook for 3 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low, or 3 hours in a 300 F oven.
To serve ladle some of the pot beans into a bowl. Then ladle some stew over the beans and top with the remaining garnishes.