A couple of things to know about our cooking: many of our soups and stews are from the department of irreproducible results department – like my long standing muffins, never quite the same way twice. This is a guest cook posting of sorts – I asked for a recipe, he gave me a list of ingredients and we both assume the cook (you! dear reader) is comfortable with taking-recipes-as-a-starting-point type of cooking. This is not science or art. It is simple, works most of the time and is tolerant of most variations within reason.

Ingredients: (mild recipe – for hotter result, increase the number of dried chiles)

  • 1 pound bag of Mayocoba (aka Peruvian or Canary beans), or pinto beans
  • 3- 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • ½ dozen cippolini onions (Trader Joe’s small bag), peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
  • 2 large dry ancho chiles, soaked in hot water, seeds and ribs removed then buzzed up in blender with enough of the soaking liquid to run your blender or food processor (thin paste-sauce consistency)
  • Mild chili powder – start with 2 T, adjust to taste (Santa Cruz brand is sweet – like paprika)
  • approximately 1-2 T each Mexican oregano, cumin seed (grind fresh in mortar) & ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 heaping t Marmite added to boiling water to make broth to cover
  • olive oil

part 1: beans, starting the night before
1 pound bag of Mayocoba beans, sorted, washed, then soaked overnight.

The next morning, rinse and drain, then cover with fresh water in a medium to large heavy stockpot and cook until tender (1-2 hours depending on how fresh your beans are).

Drain and set aside.


part 2: start to make nice smells in the kitchen
Saute onions in olive oil until wilted but not brown. Add dry spices, and saute for a few minutes, then add garlic, not scorching. Add tomatoes, cooked beans and the ancho chile paste you made with the dry anchos, then cover with hot broth (water + marmite). bring to simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours. Check occasionally to see if you need to add more liquid.

to serve:
in pre-warmed bowls, with grated jack or cheddar, with tortilla or pita triangles & a Bohemia or other favourite beer. We served it with some lovely cheddar-jalapeno biscuits.