Cotija is a very dry and crumbly Mexican cheese. It is the perfect topping in
this recipe for Black Beans with Cotija Cheese. It's a salty cheese, so don't
use too much salt when you make the beans.
Serve these beans with a salad, or maybe alongside some spicy rice. They are
also a good choice with quesadillas or other Mexican foods.
2 cups dried black beans (or two 16 ounce cans black beans with their liquid)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 white onions, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
About 4 cups unsalted chicken stock or water (or use some of each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled (or use feta)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped, for garnish
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
The day before serving, place the beans in a large pot and add water to extend
3 inches above the beans. Soak overnight. (Or if you forget to soak the beans the
night before, place them in a large pot and cover with water 3 inches above the
beans. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for
about 1 1/2 hours.)
Pour the beans into a colander and drain off the soaking liquid.
In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the cumin and stir to coat the onions. Let cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly
so the cumin will not burn.
Add the beans and cover with the stock. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam
from the beans.
Partially cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently until the beans are cooked through
but not mushy, about 1 hour. For a thicker consistency, remove the cover and boil
some of the liquid away.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the beans and place them in a shallow bowl.
Sprinkle with the cheese, and then garnish with the tomato and cilantro.