Frijoles Con Todo

It was one of my goals this month to master a few Mexican dishes, and that project is in full swing. It’s kind of a tomato, poblano, and avocado explosion in my kitchen, and I love it. This is one of my favorite dishes for sure. Thick and hearty with a spicy kick, it is my new go-to lunch.

The name means “beans with everything,” and my eyes lit up when I saw it in the cookbook. As a former vegetarian (and maybe still something of a pseudo-vegetarian), I make beans a big part of my diet for nutritional reasons but also because I love them. Any recipe that puts them front and center is bound to catch my eye.

The aforementioned “todo” is tomatoes, serrano peppers, avocados, onion, and cilantro. Oh, and cheese. A glorious mixture. And I just love the colors.

The recipe is from the Doña Tomas cookbook, which I was lucky enough to find at the library. I’ve had my eyes on it ever since I set foot in that beautiful restaurant, which was just around the corner from Eric’s apartment in Oakland. The first time we went was for their happy hour, and I never wanted to leave. Such seriously delicious tacos. The next time we went was for a farewell dinner with a dear friend who was leaving town to start a new job. I dreamed about that dinner so many times after we’d already moved away. The book is gorgeous and full of fantastic information as well as recipes, and it’s exactly what I was hoping to find.

I made a few changes here and there, but the biggest one is this. The “todo” in the original recipe is more of a topping, so all the veggies are raw, and I really wanted to cook them up and get a charred flavor, so I did just that. I loved it, but I am sure it is just as good with the topping stirred in at the last second. I may try it that way next time.

My biggest problem with this recipe was actually getting pictures taken before I ate it all! But I am pretty sure this is going to become a staple around here, so there’s no real danger of it going undocumented.

Frijoles Con Todo
Adapted from The Doña Tomas Cookbook

2 cups pinto beans, picked over, rinsed and drained (or 3-4 cans cooked)
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 avocados, cut into ¾-inch dice
2 heirloom or vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 small red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
¼ lb queso fresco, crumbled
2 serrano chiles, minced
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped

-Cover the beans by several inches with water and a dash of olive oil and cook in a pressure cooker on high for 25 minutes (or soak them overnight and cook over medium heat for 1-2 hours).
-Discard most of the water–leave just enough so that beans are halfway covered.
-In a separate pot, saute onion and peppers in olive oil until browned. Add the beans and remaining cooking water. Add the salt one tablespoon at a time until it is seasoned as you like it.
-Stir in the tomatoes, avocados, and cilantro and stir for just a few minutes, until heated through.
-Top with queso fresco and enjoy!

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