Puerco refers to one of the main ingredients, pork. But it is also a play on words, since puerco can also mean “dirty.” The translation to “dirty beans” comes from all the additional ingredients that are added to the recipe. You can add any pork products: pork shoulder, bacon, sausage, or even pigs’ feet, like in this recipe.
Excerpted from “Tu Casa Mi Casa” by Enrique Olvera with Luis Arellano, Gonzalo Gout, and Daniela Soto-Innes and Foreword by Peter Meehan. Copyright © 2019 by Enrique Olvera with Luis Arellano, Gonzalo Gout, and Daniela Soto-Innes and Foreword by Peter Meehan. Excerpted by permission of Phaidon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
This recipe was featured on our new podcast, Counterjam—a show that explores culture through food and music. Host Peter J. Kim asked chef Enrique Olvera about his grandmother's frijoles puercos—check out the episode here. —Food52
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 6 to 8
(485 grams) pale creamy preferably heirloom dried beans, such as pinto, rebosero, or flor de mayo
large white onion, roughly chopped
garlic cloves, peeled, half whole and half sliced
small pig's foot or 2 pounds (910 grams) pork shoulder cut in large cubes
(180 grams) coarsely chopped tomato
(20 grams) cilantro (coriander)
salt, or to taste
small radishes, finely sliced, for serving
Fresh flour or corn tortillas, for serving
- Pick through the beans, removing any debris or imperfect beans. Rinse the beans in a colander under running water until the water runs clear. Place them in a pot and add double their volume of water (about 5 cups/1.2 liters/40 fl oz). You can soak them overnight at this stage and that will reduce the cooking time the next day or you can cook them right away. When soaking overnight, we like to use the soaking water to cook the beans so as not to lose its flavor.
- Add half the onion and the whole garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, boil for 5–10 minutes, then bring down to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 1 hour, checking the beans every 10 minutes and adding more hot water if necessary. The beans should always be generously covered in liquid. (If you have a bean cooking pot with the pot-as-a-lid, you will have hot water at the ready. If using a regular pot, keep a small pan of water over low heat on another burner for adding water to the beans if necessary.) After 1 hour, pick out a bean and try it. If you can comfortably bite through it, but it still has bite, then it is almost done. If not, keep cooking until you get to that point. If they are not ready, make sure you constantly taste the beans to determine their doneness.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the lard over high heat until it shimmers. Add the rest of the onion, the sliced garlic, and the pig’s foot or pork shoulder cubes. Cook the pork on all sides until brown, 10–15 minutes. Add the tomato and cilantro (coriander) and cook for 5 minutes.
- When the beans are done, add them to the pot with the pork along with all their cooking liquid. Cook until some of the beans have broken down, about 45 minutes longer. Season with the salt. To serve: Serve hot either as a side or in individual bowls with radishes and tortillas on the side. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer.