Beans in their Broth

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 2h 20m

Serves 8 (5 cups cooked beans)

Frijoles de la Olla, which is made with either pinto (borlotti) or black beans, depending on the region, is the most common way of preparing beans in Mexico. They accompany everything from eggs for breakfast to enchiladas for lunch; they can be eaten with a spoon or scooped up with a tortilla. When fried, they become Frijoles Refritos. In Mexico City, beans are usually made in a pressure cooker because the altitude of 8,000 feet (2600 meters) makes their cooking time very lengthy. Although many cooks can't break the habit of soaking the beans, it is really an unnecessary step. In this recipe, the almost-burnt onion added at the end intensifies the flavor of the beans.


  • 2 cups pinto beans (borlotti) or black beans
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced, plus 1 thick wedge of onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


If using a pressure cooker, place the beans, water, the 1/4 onion, and salt in the pot, and cook until tender, following the manufacturer's instructions. If using a pot, cook the beans with water and onion over low heat until tender, adding the salt toward the end (otherwise the beans will remain tough).

When the beans are just about cooked, heat the oil in a very small frying pan over high heat. Add the onion slice and fry till almost black on each side. Add to the beans and cook for 10 minutes. Remove both onion pieces before serving.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 895

nutrition information per serving

192 calories; 6g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 222mg sodium; 27g carbohydrates; 10g fiber; 9g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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