Epazote is native to Mexico and the tropical regions of Central and South America, where it is commonly found wild. It is also widely naturalized throughout the world and the United States, especially California. In Mexican cooking, epazote is always added to the pot when cooking black beans for its natural carminative (gas-preventing) properties and because its potent aroma cuts the heaviness of the beans.
What to buy: Epazote is available fresh in supermarkets in Texas and others parts of the southwestern United States, but it’s more often found dried in Mexican markets.
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 2 large sprigs fresh epazote (or 2 tablespoons dried)
- 1/2 pound chopped fresh chorizo sausage
- 1 diced onion
- 2 diced carrots
- 2 diced celery stalks
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon ancho or New Mexico chile powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- Soak black beans overnight in cold water to cover. Drain and rinse.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the beans, chicken stock and water, and epazote in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil on the stove top, skim off foam, then cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
- In a large, heavy skillet, brown chorizo sausage. Remove the chorizo, leaving the fat in the pan. Add onion, carrots, celery stalks, and garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat until the vegetables become soft.
- Remove the pot of beans from the oven and stir in the vegetables and chorizo, along with ancho or New Mexico chile powder, ground cumin, and salt to taste.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until the beans are soft.