Yesterday, I made frijoles de olla at my apartment in Tijuana. I left early in the morning to walk to the central market across from the church on 2nd Street. There, I bought two dry cured chorizos, a pork shank cut into small pieces, some chicken thighs and some beans.
On my way home I realized that I didn’t have the proper pot for cooking my beans. As I turned into the alley that leads to my house, a man was walking towards me selling earthenware pots or cazuelas. I asked how much for the one hanging over his right shoulder. He said “120 pesos, but you can have it for 80.” I gave him 100 pesos (around $8.00) and told him to keep the change.
I headed up the stairs to my apartment and started preparing my lunch. I first boiled water in the new cazuela to get it ready for cooking. Next, I sautéed onions, garlic and bacon and added the beans. I covered it all with chicken stock and let simmer for about an hour. On the side, I fried the chorizo in a bit of olive oil to bring out some if its delicious, red colored fat. I added the pork shank and the chicken and browned them in the chorizo oil. After browning the meat, I added it to the beans, threw in a few Serrano chilies for spice, and let simmer to another hour.
The beans turned out great. The quality of the meats from the small carnicería added a ton of flavor, and the clay casserole was the perfect cooking vessel. I plan on eating this at each meal for the next few days!
(Morgan Walker is on assignment, as we say in the news biz. He is based in Tijuana for a few months, developing recipes for new menus for Ann Walker Catering. And, as you can see, for his own pleasure.)