Frijoles

This recipe comes from Antioquia in Colombia, where it is served with rice and a number of side dishes, including crisp pork crackling, bananas, avocados, and white corncakes. Stretched in this way, the quantities given here would easily serve eight.

Into a large pot 2 cups of red kidney beans (not pre-soaked).
Add 5 cups of a mixture made from the liquid drained from a large tin of peeled tomatoes (the tomatoes themselves are used later) and your choice of stock.

Do not add salt it is said to prevent the beans softening properly.
Cover the pot and put the beans to cook over low heat. (South American practice is to add a tablespoon of oil when the beans begin to wrinkle but I omitted this with no ill effects.) Continue cooking until tender; about 2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, finely chop 2 large onions and 4 cloves of garlic and fry gently in a little oil.
Add 500 g. minced meat (usually beef but take your choice, I used chicken) and fry very slowly until brown.
Add the tinned tomatoes, a chopped green chile, 2 or 3 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons cumin, half a bunch of basil (chopped), 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, pepper and salt.

Tip the contents of the frying pan into the beans and simmer slowly till well blended.

Serves 4-6. (January 31, 2004) From Columbia.

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