Sunday, July 18, 2010

Missing El Fenix

Seriously multi-tasking yesterday morning, I had 3 things working at once. The ice cream maker was humming on vanilla ice cream, a small saucepan was bubbling with the packaged bread and butter pickle mix; and I was regularly stirring and tasting the Cowpoke Beans, which finally took almost 3 hours to get tender - which took alot of tasting. Fortunately I did not cross contaminate any of the three and all turned out just as they should.

Especially the beans were interesting. Served the Cousins and Aunt Gail with Fajitas, beans and gucamole last night. We imitated our favorite menu items at El Fenix as best we could given the geographical disorientation. Except El Fenix serves refried beans with the Sizzling Fajitas and these beans were more like what they serve at Herrara's, another Tex-Mex place we frequent for a change of pace, and mostly for the beans. There they put Pinto Bean Soup in front of you as soon as you sit down and this recipe is very similar and seems very homestyle Mexican. Very interesting depth of flavors. The use of Coke is intriguing and probably more from the Southern cooking tradition.

Recipe from Texas Home Cooking of course.

1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

8 cups water

12 ounces Coca-Cola

1 14 1/2 ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 medium onions, choppeed

1/4 to 1/2 cup tomato-based BBQ sauce (made this the night before...almost like Sonny Bryans')
2-3 slices slab bacon, chopped

3 Tablespoons chili powder (I substituted red papper flakes+powered cumin+tabasco)

2 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

4 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 fresh serranos or 2-3 jalapenos, minced (used jalapenos as we are wimpy)

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground (this is going too far...powered did fine)

1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste - added at finish.

In a big pot, combine all except salt. Bring to boit then reduce to simmer. Cook slowly, adding water if needed (mine did not). When done the beans should hold their shape but be soft and just a little soupy. Serve in bowls with cooking liquid.

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