I first made this Ecuadorian dish last month for my mom’s birthday. Since then, I’ve made it several more times. According to Laylita’s Recipes, "a menestra is a popular stew type dish of lentils or beans and served with rice, plantains, salad and your choice of protein: beef, pork, fish, chicken or an egg (vegetarian option)." Using pinto beans in this recipe, the meal went over very well with my family. Although the cooking time was about two hours, the preparation for the bean stew was very fast and simple. After simmering in red onions, tomatoes, crushed garlic, achiote (annatto powder), cumin and chili powder, the beans were ready and tasted so good — so full of flavor. Following the recipe instructions, I served the beans with rice, ripe plantain (my favorite!), avocado, tomato and onion curtido and salad. To learn more about a menestra, stop by Laylita’s Recipes.
Menestra de Porotos (Bean Stew)
Ingredients (for 8-10 large servings):
2-3 tbs finely chopped cilantro or parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan or pot, add the diced onions and crushed garlic, let cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, achiote powder, cumin seeds and ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Add the soaked beans and simmer for about 2 hours.
- Mix in the chopped cilantro or parsley.
- Serve with Ecuadorian style cooked rice, fried plantains, salad with tomato and onion curtido, fried or grilled meat (or fish /poultry/egg), avocado slices and some good aji or hot sauce on the side.