jump to content
In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxTorontoVancouverMontreal

Bean Waiting

strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_date::exposed_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::exposed_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/alternc/html/f/ftm/drupal-6.9/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_date.inc on line 0.
Issue: 33 Section: Food Geography: Latin America Guatemala

January 26, 2006

Bean Waiting

In Guatemala black beans are prepared slowly, simply and saltily

by Moira Peters

Cooking in the dirt floor kitchens of Guatemala photo: Chris Cohoon
My bean-cooking tutor, eighteen-year-old Elida, finds a sunny spot where she crouches to painstakingly sort through the dried legumes, removing cracked, chipped or otherwise imperfect beans, saving them for planting. If included, she explains, they would make the rest of the beans taste bitter. Elida rinses the selected beans and dumps them, along with an outrageous amount of salt and half a minced onion, in a barro (clay) pot filled with water. She boils them over a low fire all day long, adding firewood and water as needed.

Gastronomic heaven can be reached by blending the cooked beans with their own broth and frying them in lots of oil and more onions. Eaten before market Friday mornings on crisp, roasted tortillas with fresh cheese, frijoles colados instantly became my favorite food in Guatemala. I still make them, as an accompaniment to scrambled eggs and toast, as bean dip for parties, or sometimes, with hot corn tortillas and feta cheese, in memory of the Perfect Flavour Combo found only in dirt floor, open-fire kitchens in the Guatemalan highlands.

Central American Black Bean Dip

2 cups dried Black beans
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
oil or lard

Soak beans overnight. Drain the liquid and put soaked beans in pot with fresh water to cover. Add 1-2 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer partially covered until beans are very soft. Fry the onion in a pan with the oil or lard on medium-low heat until onions are soft and translucent. Blend with beans and some of the cooking liquid until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt to taste.

Own your media. Support the Dominion. Join the Media Co-op today.

Archived Site

This is a site that stopped updating in 2016. It's here for archival purposes.

The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

»Where to buy the Dominion