Bored of Beans? Simmer Them In Sofrito
The surge in dried-bean buying kicked off by the onset of COVID-19 in America appears to have leveled off, but believe me, beans are here to stay, A hot bowl of clay pot red chile beans might not hold the same appeal in the summer months as in the chillier days of winter, but there are plenty of summer-friendly things to do, including serving them alongside grilled hot dogs, or in bean salads and bean dips. Putting in the time in a hot kitchen to put together a pot of beans pays off in dividends throughout the week, when you can pull out a container of beans for a quick lunch or dinner in the days afterwards. That’s particularly true when the beans are as delicious cold as they are hot, and need very little accompaniment—maybe a couple tortillas or a slice or two of bread. What you need are Lalo’s Cacahuate Beans.
These beans came into my life thanks to Joe Yonan and his wonderful cookbook Cool Beans. Yonan is a bean believer for all kinds of reasons—they’re cheap, filling, a staple of many cuisines, and provide an easy entrance point to a plant-based diet. Cacahuate beans also go by cranberry or borlotti beans, and are readily available at supermarkets nearby. What makes this preparation so delicious isn’t anything particularly complicated, but it is very clever. What Yonan learned from Mexico City chef Eduardo “Lalo” Garcia” was to simmer the beans in sofrito after they’ve cooked through, rather than cook them in it in the beginning. This helps meld the flavors together while preserving a level of freshness you don’t get when making the sofrito first and then simmering the beans in it for hours.
Once the beans are cooked with the sofrito another half hour, Chef Garcia then tops them with a pico de gallo and serves them with tortillas. It’s a meal with flavors far more complex than the simple ingredients would suggest, and one that’s perfect for the upcoming summer months, with their abundance of tomatoes and peppers. It’s a delicious pot of beans that’ll keep a week in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer without the pico de gallo, and makes for a perfect lazy summer day meal from the fridge.
Get the recipe: Lalo’s Cacahuate Beans with Pico de Gallo