New to cooking in clay? This basic bean-pot recipe is easily adapted to your tastes.

  • 2½ cups (about 1 pound) dried pinto 
  • or bolita beans, rinsed, sorted 
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4–5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced salt pork or bacon
  • 1 teaspoon dried epazote leaves, crumbled, or 1 bag chamomile tea (intact)
  • 3 tablespoons mild or hot Chimayó 
  • red-chile powder
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 7–8 cups water or broth (beef, chicken, 
  • or vegetable)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Serves 6–8

  1. Put all ingredients in bean pot and place on bottom rack of cold oven. (If you’re cooking in something other than a micaceous bean pot, put a lid on it.)
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees and cook beans for 1½ hours.
  3. Carefully remove pot and check seasoning; add more if necessary, and return to hot oven. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and cook another 40 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove pot from oven, re-season if necessary, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Serve as side dish with fresh tortillas, crema Mexicana or sour cream, diced jalapeños, and crumbled cotija or grated asadero cheese.