Purple beans in a Magic Mexican Bean Pot

Purple Frijoles Ayocote cooked in a Magic Mexican Bean Pot

Digging around in a Mexican Market in Staten Island, NY called Frutas y Abarrotes Mexico, I found some curiously large Purple dried beans. The only package on the shelves seemed destine for one of my magic Mexican clay cooking pot. These charming purple beans are also featured on Rancho Gordo as Ayocote Morado Beans (Purple Runners) are meaty, plump and produce a lovely bean broth and very easy to prepare.

purple or morado beans

Morado beans from Mexico

In our family we believe in the cooking properties of the Magic Bean Pot. This is the name one of my children gave an old Mexican clay bean pot in my kitchen. “Oh… we are going to use the Magic Bean Pot today”… gets the whole family excited and involved.

It’s not a myth, over the years my favorite bean pot has developed wonderful seasoning and it is like cooking with an old friend everytime I use it… yes, its a positively magical bean pot.

I had just gotten a new shaped Mexican clay bean pot from El Metezo in Chicago. I nick named it “The Pretty Lady”, since the bean pot shape seems like a pretty lady with a narrow top and two hand-les resting on a bulbus bottom. This traditional design was created to keep beans very moist and plump while cooking. These purple bean were definitely very unusual and would bring some interesting flavors to my new clay pot. Since it was new, I boiled some water in the pot first on low heat for about thirty minutes to prepare it for its maiden bean cooking voyage.

Traditional mexican bean pot

“Pretty Lady” traditional Mexican bean pot.

Place in the bean pot, 1 lb of Frijoes Ayocote and enough water to cover the beans with an extra 2 inches of water. Remove and clean to look for any twigs, stones or leaves. Boil for about an hour and turned off for a couple hours or skip the first boil and soak the beans overnight. When ready to cook, again add additional water to cover at least two inches over the top of the bean. Do not add any seasonings. Cook the beans until tender about 2 hours.

Purple beans cooked in a magic bean pot

Cooked purple beans served in a clay bowl

In a separate small pan or stove top clay pot saute

1 chopped onion in

1 Tablespoon of olive oil until golden.

Add 2 dried Avocado leaves crumbled,

2 dried hot peppers of you choice crumbpled,

2 cloves of chopped garlic,

1 teaspoon of cumin and saute for 1 minute.

Add one cup of the cooked purple beans and cook a minute more. Let cool a little then using caution place the small pans contents in blender until lightly blended. Then pour the mashed bean and seasoning mixture in to the main pot of beans. Simmer 10 mins and add salt and pepper to taste.

The beans will lose a little of their purple brilliance and become a purplish brown but they are a lovely meaty bean.

plump purple beans made in a clay pot Cooked plump purple beans ready for serving.[/caption

Two holidays I like to particularly find significant to use these purple beans are for the Day of the Dead and for an Indigenous Thanksgiving.
For the Day of the Dead, purple is a traditional color used in altars for the celebration to signify morning for the loss of loved ones. A delicious bowl of purple beans seems like a nice poetic touch.
For a New World Indigenous Thanksgiving, beans are one of many nutritious food contributions originating in the new world. I like to have at least one bean dish as part of the Thanksgiving feast. These unusual heirloom beans definitely stand out and are very tasty.

Hearty & Easy Clay Pot Bean Soup – Vegan friendly

This is a stick to your ribs bean soup.

1 Medium Onion chopped very fine
2 hot peppers – long red work nicely – Remove seeds and mince.
½ C oil.
2 T of Flour
3 cans of Beans. Your choice. Mixed types can be tasty.
½ C of finely minced fresh parsley leaves
3+ Cups of Water or Stock (more if desired)

Slowly saute the finely chopped onions in ¼ C canola oil until the onion is transparent. Add the minced hot peppers to the onion. Cook a minute longer.

Sprinkle 2 T of flour over the oily onions and peppers. Stir as the combination cooks and flour absorbs the oil. Make sure not to burn. Can turn a caramel like color but will likely be more transparent. Add ¼ cup of water or vegetable stock to make a pasty gravy. Continue cooking a few min. Add about a Cup of Water or Stock (beer/stock blend works too), parsley and simmer slowly while you prepare the next step.

In another pot, rinse three cans of beans and cook in a ¼ cup of oil.  As the beans start to heat and soften, mash the beans along the sides of the pan with the back side of a wooden spoon. You may also want to use a potato masher. As you mash, slowly add a cup of water(or vegetable stock) to moisten the beans. You will end up with a thick bean paste. Add to the onion, pepper, parsley stock to the bean paste. Add water or stock (usually 1 to 2 C) until your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Process through blender if you would like a smoother texture. Serve hot garnish with fresh parsley, (a dab of crème frache for non vegans) with crusty seasoned bread or crackers.

Which clay pot to use??? A heavy clay is preferable. Flat bottom or round bottomed clay pots work very well for both stages of this soup. I used one flat Chamba Stew Pot to saute the vegetable and a medium Chamba olla for the bean paste. The Round belly of the olla fit the back of the wooden spoon to nicely mash the beans along its side as it cooks and softens.

Chamba Clay Stew Pot

Heavy Black Clay Pot from Colombia would be a good option for making this soup.

Please share your favorite recipes and experience cooking with clay cookware from around the world.