Dysphaniaambrosioides, formerly Chenopodiumambrosioides, known asepazote,wormseed, Jesuit’s tea, Mexican-tea,paico, or herbasanctiMariæ, is a herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico. Also, it is grown in warm temperate to subtropical areas of Europe and the United States (Missouri, New England, Eastern United States), where it sometimes becomes an invasive weed. It is an annual or short-lived perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) tall, irregularly branched, with leaves up to 12 cm (4.7 in) long and small, green flowers.Epazote is used as a leaf vegetable, a herb and a herbal tea. Raw, it has a pungent flavour, with a resinous, medicinal overtone, similar to anise, fennel, or even tarragon, but quite a bit more powerful. It has been compared to citrus, savory, or mint but Epazote’s fragrance is strong and a bit like turpentine or creosote. Although it is traditionally used with black beans to give flavour and because of its carminative properties (anti-gas), it is also sometimes used with other traditional Mexican dishes like quesadillas, soups, mole de olla, tamales with cheese and chili peppers, chilaquiles, eggs and potatoes and enchiladas. It is often also used as a herb for white fried rice and is an important ingredient for making the green salsa for chilaquiles.
Epazote has been used in Mexican cuisine for thousands of years dating back to the Aztecs who used it for cooking as well as for medicinal purposes. Epazote has largely been viewed as medicinal herb rather than a culinary plant. In general, its leave are used in cooking to counter indigestion and the flatulence effects of beans, high-fibre and protein food. Nonetheless, the herb has many intrinsic plant nutrients which when used optimally benefit overall health and wellness.
- 250g of black beans
- 1 can of kidney beans
- 1 can of pinto beans
- 2 epazote leaves
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 1 celery stalk, split in half, lengthways
- 1 carrot, peeled and split in half, lengthways
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 dried chipotle chiles
- 1 tbsp dried cumin seed
- A large pinch of coriander seeds
- 1 serrano pepper, coarsely chopped
- 2 beef tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- A large pinch of dried oregano
- 1 bottle Mexican beer, Corona
- 1 large pinch of salt, add more if needed
- 60ml of olive oil
- A large handful of coarsely chopped fresh coriander
- Juice of 1 lime
Soak the beans over night and in the morning rinse and then place in a large heavy pot and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Place half the onion,epazote leaves, the celery and carrot halves, the garlic cloves, and the bay leaves in the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the beans are almost cooked, al dente, this should take about 30 minutes.
While the beans are cooking, remove the stems from the dried chillies, slit them open, and shake out the seeds. Next soak the chillies in very hot water for 15 minutes until they are softish. While the chiles soak, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a heavy based frying pan about 30 seconds. Remove and place in a blender.
When the chillies are ready, remove them from the water and coarsely chop. roughly chop the remaining onion half and add it to the blender along with the chopped chillies, red pepper, tomato, oregano, 60ml of beer and some salt. Blend into a smooth purée; set aside.
Drain the black beans, removing the onion, celery, carrot, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Place 240g of the cooked beans into a mixing bowl and mash them. Return the large heavy pot to the hob and add the oil, heat until the oil is smoking then add the puréed chilli mixture and fry it, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it becomes fragrant, this should take about 3 minutes. Add the crushed, remaining black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and the remaining beer. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans mixture uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in the coriander and lime juice. Season and sprinkle with the remaining coriander and serve.
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