Huevitos con Friojoles (Eggs with Beans), and a lesson on the life of a Guatemalan bean.

A busy life requires a few quick and satisfying meals to help you get by. Our lives have been quite busy in the last 4 months and we tried very hard to stay away from take out and restaurants. Huveos con frijoles (eggs and beans) was a staple that helped to get us through, providing us with immense satisfaction and saving us a lot of money. Before I go into the recipe, I’d like to discuss a bit about the Guatemalan bean.

Beans in Guatemala, for many families, are a staple. They go through three main stages throughout the week. Each stage is distinct and lovely in its own way, and I rather enjoy the beauty and logic of their evolution. The idea is based on preserving the beans as well as time; the addition of variety is simply a bonus. A large pot of beans are made at the beginning of the week and prepared using three different techniques at distinct times of the week; each of stage prevents spoilage and extends the life of the bean.

The first stage: frijoles parados, the whole bean. The beans, usually black or red colorados, are soaked for at least an hour and up to overnight, depending on the freshness of the bean. Then drained, and simmered for an hour or two, often with onion and garlic. Simple and delicious, and the water becomes a thick syrupy texture.

Second are frijoles liquados, literally liquefied beans. They are much like re-fried beans you would encounter in a Mexican restaurant, running into your rice and sneaking under the shell of your tacos al pastor, making it deliciously soggy. They are the whole beans simply liquefied and reheated in the frying pan. Near the beginning of the week they are very runny, and towards the end they begin to thicken with each additional reheating.

Finally, my favorites (pictured above) are frijoles volteados, or flipped beans (for lack of a better translation). These aren’t ready until the very end of the week, after being reheated numerous times at breakfast and dinner each day. The beans become dry, and when stirred clump to the wooden spoon. At this stage, when they are being reheated, and gather in a messy ball, much like a dough as it comes together. Once they are dry enough, a few swift tosses of the pan accompanied by a expert twirl of the spoon, the above appetizing log-like shape is formed. I will brag a little here: I have pretty much nailed this down, something I’m proud of as a gringa. In this form and texture, the beans lend themselves well to being spread a toasted tortilla. They slice nicely, as butter, but a few unruly morsels of richness always scatter from the loaf and you have you mop them up with some soft fresh bread. Don’t let those go…they are the best part, and there is little I love more…

except, huevitos con frijoles (eggs and beans). Heat a little oil or butter in a large skillet over medium. Scoop up a generous heap of the dry and crumbly beans (lets say 3/4 a cup, if you squish them in), and add them to the pan. Break them apart with a wooden spoon so they are mostly crumbs, and let them heat through. Once they’re all warmed, break 4 eggs over the pan and let them cook just a bit without stirring, until you see the whites of each egg just begin to turn from clear to white. Then here is the trick: stir and don’t stop until they are cooked to your desired texture. I prefer mine creamy, not too done, or else they can be a bit dry. The constant movement gives the smooth (but crumbly) texture that I like. They should be a bit shiny, and they’re deeply rich.  When done immediately remove from pan to serving plate. Taste, then add salt if needed (usually my beans are already seasoned, so just a tiny pinch of salt is needed). I usually eat it with a splash of hot sauce. On a toasted tortilla they are the best.

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