By Liliana Moyano for Shine LatinaBean soup de la abuela
Mi abuelita had several food traditions in her house; every morning she made her old-fashioned beaten egg whites with sugar, while every afternoon there was tea with cookies or mantecada (pound cake). On Tuesday nights, she roasted peanuts. We all helped to peel them, and put them inside a big jar so we could have snacks to munch on during the week. On Thursdays she made our favorite dish, sopa de frijoles con plátano, or bean soup with plantains.
Her now-famous soup tradition began one Wednesday morning when she left dried beans soaking in water until late afternoon. Before going to bed, she took out her big crock pot, and put the beans in with pigs feet, a ripe plantain and water. She then left the mix to slow-cook overnight. I got up around three in the morning, only to notice an enticing smell that traveled all the way into my bedroom. I sneaked into the kitchen to taste the concoction in the pot without getting caught by abuelita, and it was delicious!
I always believed that my grandma was the only one who could make beans with such unique flavor. Now I realize that all I need is the right ingredients and a good crock pot. I also discovered that one of the key elements in her recipe was getting a very ripe plantain- the kind that has already turned black outside and feels soft to the touch. I made grandma's frijoles, leaving the beans cooking overnight just like she used to. And, just like old times, the smell woke me up at three in the morning, and I had to get up in the middle of the night to go taste them.
Alisten su olla…Bean soup de la abuela
Ingredients (for cooking the beans)
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
10 oz. pig feet, cut in chunks
1 tbsp. Sazón Goya with Azafrán
¼ ripe plantain, cubed
1 lb. dried pinto beans
3 cups water
1 tsp. salt
Softening the beans: Place the dried beans in a bowl, and cover them with water for 4 to 6 hours.
Cooking the beans: Cook the minced garlic, onion and tomato in the crock pot at high heat for 10 minutes. Then, add the pigs' feet, Sazón Goya, plantain and beans. Cover with three cups of water, and add a teaspoon of salt. Stir gently with a wooden spoon and cover. Cook for 6 hours at low heat and enjoy.
-Adding "pig's feet" to bean soup is a common culinary custom in Latin America. Feel free to substitute them for ham hock or any other ham product.
-Sazón Goya with Azafrán is a type of seasoning that already has saffron in it. It can be easily found at Latin supermarkets or at the Hispanic aisle of your favorite store. However, you can substitute the Sazón with any type of all-purpose seasoning or chicken bouillon to taste. If you can find saffron separately, add ¼ teaspoon for flavor and color.