Cerdo con frijoles

Mexican pork and beans. This traditional dish from the Yucatán region of southern Mexico is much favoured by the Maya. Properly it is made from wild pork [Cerdo] and black beans, flavoured with Epazote. Epazote is not currently available in New Zealand that I am aware, and I am unable to discover any meaningful substitute. It is an annual herb with a strong flavour, widely used in traditional cuisine throughout central America and the southern United States, but it is a flavouring that is quite unique. Also known as Mexican Tea, some say it is reminiscent of citrus, others that coriander greens are a good replacement. A Mexican friend who runs a small restaurant in the little Yucatecan town of Progreso assures me that dandelion leaves are very, very close, epazote being a Mexican variety of that plant. Kidney beans work well if black beans are unavailable.

1/3 cup oil.
1kg lean pork, diced.
1/3 cup oil.
2 onions, chopped.
2 green chillies, seeded and minced .
2 tblsp ground coriander.
1 tblsp ground cumin.
2 cups black beans .
Water to cover.
Salt to taste.
¼ cup epazote leaves, chopped .
3 tablespoons cornflour.
Chopped radish and/or spring onion to garnish.

Heat the oil over a hot flame and brown the meat well. Remove to a bowl and add the second measure of oil to the pan. Cook the onion and spices together until the onion is soft then add the meat and the beans. Stir well.
Top up the pan with enough water to just cover, bring to the boil, and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer gently for two hours, stirring occasionally. Top up with a little water if required, and thicken with the cornflour at the end of cooking. Add the epazote at the same time as the cornflour.
Remove from the heat and set in a cool place for 2-3 hours. Reheat gently and serve sprinkled with chopped radishes [the traditional garnish] or chopped spring onions and coriander greens. This dish lends itself well to packing down and freezing for later.

Serves: 8-10.


  • virginia  On 12/06/2013 at 14:14

    Good recipe. MUY RICO.
    We live and run a small resturant in the Yucatecan beach town of Progreso. Epazote is Mexicos dandelion it grows everywhere here.
    I would try dandelion the next time you make this wondetful dish. The tastes are as similar as you will find in North America.

    • poddimok  On 12/06/2013 at 14:24

      Muchos gracias, amigos. I shall make some this weekend.


  • By Ersatz Epazote | Ruth's Reflections on 31/10/2013 at 06:33

    […] was keen to make a Mexican dish called Cerdo con Frijoles, but lacked one vital ingredient, Epazote.  It’s an annual herb with a strong flavour, […]

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