Mexican-Style Pork and Bean Stew

I hardly ever use beans and I thought it would be nice to make something with beans for a change. Beans make me think of Mexican food, so I decided upon a Mexican-Style Pork and Bean Stew. I am not a connoisseur of Mexican food, so I do not claim that this is a traditional recipe. Perhaps someone can tell me whether this is even remotely Mexican 😉 For color and variety I thought it would be nice to use five different kinds of beans. Since I didn’t know the cooking times of them, I decided to cook each type separately. This was a bit of extra work, especially since I do not have the space or pots to cook five types at the same time so I had to do this in two batches.  It turned out that most of the beans had the same cooking time of one hour. Next time  I will probably opt for cooking them all at the same time, even though that may make the flavors less clearly defined. I did not cook the beans and the pork at the same time, because the beans need to boil whereas the pork needs to simmer since otherwise it would dry out. I was pretty happy with the result. Next time I make this, I will use fattier pork with bones such as pork ribs for additional flavor and better tasting meat.
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Ingredients

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For 4 to 6 servings

700 grams (1 1/2 lbs) pork shoulder (next time I will use pork ribs and a higher weight to account for the bones)

100 grams (1/2 cup) butter beans

100 grams (1/2 cup) pinto beans

100 grams (1/2 cup) green flageolets

100 grams (1/2 cup) red kidney beans

100 grams (1/2 cup) black turtle beans

1 can (400 grams/14 oz) peeled tomatoes

salt

1-4 dried chile peppers, seeded (1 = mild, 2 = medium, 3 = hot, 4 = very hot)

1 onion

1 yellow bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation

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Cover the beans with water and allow to soak for 8 hours in a cool place (refrigerator is fine but not necessary, it just shouldn’t be warm).

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Discard the water after 8 hours. (Some people claim that this helps to reduce flatulence. Didn’t work for us…)

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Boil the beans in unsalted water for 1 hour. The butter beans need 1 1/2 hours. Drain them after cooking, but reserve the cooking liquid.

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Chop the onion, mince the garlic, clean the bell pepper and cut it into 1 cm (1/2″) pieces.

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Cut the pork into cubes (skip this if using ribs) and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a frying pan or casserole and add the pork.

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Brown the pork on all sides over high heat.

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Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.

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Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in the fat remaining from the pork.

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Add the spices.

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Add the bay leaves and chile peppers.

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Add the reserved cooking water from the beans.

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Add the tomatoes, after zapping them in the foodprocessor.

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Add the pork, together with all the juices that leaked out of it. Season with a bit of salt.

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Add water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a mere simmer.

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Cover and cook over low heat until the pork is tender, about 2 hours.

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Check with a fork whether the pork is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.

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Add the beans.

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Stir until well mixed.

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Cover and cook over low heat until the beans have been heated through.

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Serve with rice. If you like you can garnish with fresh cilantro.

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31 thoughts on “Mexican-Style Pork and Bean Stew

  1. Looks good! How did the beans come out? Soft? I’ve had mixed results depending on the salt level in whatever I am cooking.

    If you want bean recipes I came up with a monkfish and chorizo ‘cassoulet’ – though it has little to do with cassoulet in reality.

    Saute onion, celery & carrot finely diced. Add slices/pieces of cooking chorizo till the oil comes out and they colour the vegetables, then add sliced garlic for a last couple fo minutes frying. Then add a little tomato paste, cook a couple of mins more then a small glass white wine. Then add flageolet beans and a canned of quality plum tomatoes and a couple of bay leaves. You can also add extra smoked paprika, makes it taste like you have more chorizo but without the extra meat and fat.

    As this is cooking, cook off pieces of monkfish in a sauté or frying pan in a tiny touch of oil. Once they are very lightly cooked turn off the pan and put the monkfish into a bowl. Once the flageolet mix is cooked to your liking (doesn’t take too long) add the monkfish pieces and the juice that had come out of them, stir in, add some lemon juice and taste.

    You can serve it alone as it has lots of beans in it, though wish rice would work, or just with nice crustry bread perhaps.

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    1. The beans came out soft because I cooked them separately in unsalted water. Salt will make any vegetable cook more slowly (more about that in Harold McGee’s books).
      The monkfish recipe sounds nice, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Your flavors/spices are spot-on for much of Mexico (there are a lot of regional variations). The only thing that we haven’t seen is they mix of beans. But Mexican food is way more dynamic than you might expect…so maybe some regions use more than one bean in a dish.

    Also, the traditional cut of pork for many Mexican stews, like posole, is the meat and bone cut right along the spine (adds great flavor to the broth). Not sure that is available to you, but FYI.

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    1. I think I got the idea to use five different beans because I saw some 5-bean chili recipes on American sites.
      I think my butcher butchers his own pigs, so I should be able to get that cut. I’ll look into it, thanks for the tip!

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  3. I like the flavor profile and it looks really good but…it’s not remotely authentic Mexican. In all of the years and places I have traveled in Mexico eating Mexican cuisine, I have 1) never been served butter beans or green flageolets; and 2) never seen a mix of beans. They use pinto beans, black beans and even kidney beans but never mixed together that either Baby Lady or I can remember. More than likely, you would get a pork stew with beans on the side. Also, inasmuch as you are using the ground coriander, garnishing with fresh cilantro (coriander) is simply adding more of the same ingredient. Typical garnishes for stews of this nature would be radishes, diced onions, cabbage, jalapeños en escabeche :D, etc. Tex-Mex would throw some cheese on top.

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    1. I am not an expert in the Mexican cuisine but here in the coriander part, I think I need to disagree. For me coriander seeds flavour is distinctively different than fresh coriander so it is not really adding the same ingredient in taste. However, it is good to know about the beans sorts and not mixing them 🙂

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    2. Richard! A bit harsh, no?!!! Stefan calls this “Mexican-Style.”
      And even though ground coriander and cilantro come from the same plant, they are completely different and have different purposes. I use them together in indian and mexican cuisines. Sorry to disagree.

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      1. Mimi-I didn’t mean to be harsh and am truly sorry if it comes across that way. 😮 I did say I liked the dish. I like Stefan, a lot, respect his culinary abilities and would never mean to offend. He asked “Perhaps someone can tell me whether this is even remotely Mexican.” I was simply trying to answer his question and explain why it would not be “remotely authentic Mexican.” It has certain Mexican/Latin American flavors and I’m sure it is good but it would not be considered Mexican. Coriander and cilantro in the same dish is a matter of taste and preference and I did not mean to imply it was inappropriate, simply that it was the same thing.

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        1. oh, I somehow missed that! now i’m sorry! i’ve just witnessed a spattering of offensive, ego-filled commets throughout these months of blogging, and yours surprised me. but now i understand. yours were not unsolicited. and yes, maybe Stefan doesn’t realize that coriander and cilantro/fresh coriander come from the same plant. carry on!!!

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      2. No problem, Mimi. I hope nobody else thinks I was picking on Stefan because I wouldn’t do that. I get paid to fight with others for a living so I try not to do it in my personal life. Also, I’m sure Stefan is glad to know you have his back. 😉

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        1. Hi Richard and Mimi! I had so much fun reading your little polemic on the train back home today 🙂 Glad (and honored) to know that you both got my back 🙂
          I did ask and was expecting Richard to respond as I really do not know anything about Mexican food. All I know is from Mexican restaurants in Europe and the USA — I have never been to Mexico. I had fallen into the trap in confusing American-Mexican with real Mexican, so given how strict I am about Italian food I can do nothing but accept Richard’s verdict.

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    3. I’ve seen quite a lot of “5 bean chili” recipes on American sites and thought it would be fun. Interesting to see (but not surprising) that it is not just Italian cuisine that is being changed by Americans. I used the flageolets and the butter beans because I wasn’t sure which beans were Mexican and I wanted to have mixed colors 😉 So that is why I was wondering whether I had accidentally made something close to an authentic recipe (it has happened before), but I am not surprised at all that I have not. Thanks for pointing that out; I was counting on you 😉
      I do know that coriander seeds and cilantro leaves come from the same plant, but they are so different in taste and texture that I do not consider them to be the same ingredient. Rather like using celery stalks as well as celeriac in Waldorf salad. (Interesting though that Americans have a different name for the seeds as opposed to the leaves. In England but also overhere all of it is called coriander.)

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      1. Once again, it’s the oddities of the US. Also, chili is really a Texas concoction, not Mexican. Once the people in the northern portion of the US got ahold of chili, they started adding beans, changing the meat to chicken, etc., etc., etc. Mexico has chile con carne which is tremendously different from chili. Also, to my knowledge, only the US draws a distinction between coriander and cilantro. In Mexico, it’s all cilantro.

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      2. Hmmm…I always thought paprika was dried and powdered Pimentón peppers, not bell peppers. Also, several countries differentiate between certain fresh, raw peppers and their dried counterpart. For instance, the poblano pepper once dried becomes chile ancho.

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        1. That shows how mixed up names can get. In Spain, pimentón is used to describe dried and powdered red peppers (pimientos rojos), including bell peppers. Pimentón dulce is sweet and made from bell pepper, pimentón picante is spicy. The paprika for sale here is made from bell peppers.

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  4. This sounds wonderful, Stefan, though I’m not at all an expert in food South of our border. I know I like it and I would surely enjoy this. Pork when stewed is a delicious creation and the stew itself benefits greatly from its presence. And authentic or not, this assortment of beans sounds delicious.

    Like

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