(serves 10-12)

A Mexican Clay Pot or “Olla” is an essential ingredient which actually adds a subtle flavor

Before you start

Prepare Frijoles de Olla (see B, prepare 24 hours in advance)

Prepare Chipotle BBQ Sauce (there are numerous recipes on-line)


  • 3 cups Frijole de Olla (Mexican Clay Pot Beans) See Basic Recipes for Californio Cooking, beans should be cooked with 1 oz. dark (at least 70%) chocolate, which is listed as optional in the recipe for Frijoles de Olla. You can use black beans or pinto beans for this recipe.
  • 1 ½ lbs. bacon ends or pork lardons (I highly recommend The Baconer Pork Lardons, select either Smoky Paprika, Bourbon or Jalapeño, depending on which way you want to take the flavor profile of your beans)
  • 1 ½ lbs. chorizo
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
  • 1 large Spanish white onion, medium dice
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups veggie broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup chipotle barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup clover honey
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 piloncillo
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 teaspoon Applewood or Hickory Smoked salt, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Cook bacon ends or lardons until done (should have some crisper areas and some softer areas, just like it does when you make it normally). Discard fat and drain bacon on a paper towel. Remove chorizo from its skin by slitting lengthwise and cook in a pan with just a little bit of oil. Chorizo releases a lot of oil as it cooks. Save this oil and sauté carrots in it over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they just start to become soft, about, 3-4 minutes, then add onion and cook an additional 3 -4 minutes until they are translucent. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze pan with rum, bring to a simmer, add minced garlic and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans using a large mixing bowl.

Add 2 cups stock, barbecue sauce, honey, molasses, piloncillo, and the reserved chorizo, bacon or lardons and veggies to the beans. Mix gently to combine. Taste for sweetness and balance. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and cover. Bake at 300° for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, check to see if the bean mixture is dry; if it is, add a little more stock. Bake for 30 minutes more. Uncover, add chopped cilantro to the beans and bake 15 minutes more to thicken slightly. Salt to taste and serve as a side dish, garnished with chopped onions and fresh cilantro.

B. Frijoles de Olla- Clay Pot Beans

(serves 10-12)

  • 2 lb black beans (or substitute pinto or any beans you like, I highly recommend Rancho Gordo beans, there is a huge difference in the end result
  • 6+ cups water
  • ½ Spanish white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1–2 sprigs of epazote (available at Mexican markets, has gas-inhibiting properties and adds flavor, also available dry from My Spice Sage . If using, put 2 oz in tea infuser)
  • Salt to taste

Clean beans, removing debris, rocks, or broken beans. Once cleaned, add beans to a clay pot full of water. (Note: You may, of course, make your beans in a traditional stainless steel pot. The flavor will be subtly but perceptibly different, though.) Be sure your pot is large enough to accommodate the beans as they expand. Your dry beans should not rise to past the 1/3 mark of your pot. Rinse beans and add water so that you have 1/3 beans and 2/3 water in your pot. Add onion, garlic, chile, bay leaf, and epazote; cook covered for 2 hours and add salt, then continue cooking for 1-6 hours, or up to 12 hours on medium-low heat, until tender (note: cooking time will vary depending on the size and condition of your beans; if not using Rancho Gordo beans, the beans you purchase may have spent a longer time on the grocery shelf and will take longer to cook and there is really no way to know.) Also, for larger quantities of beans, cooking may take significantly longer. Make sure beans are constantly covered with water. No need to stir, but it is important that the beans never lack water or are allowed to become dry. If needed, add hot, never cold, water to bean pot. As you add more water, you may need to add more salt. It is important not to under- salt the beans. Remove onion, garlic cloves, and epazote before serving.

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