Achiote Green Beans – From Yucatán

Achiote Green Beans – From Yucatán
Annato tree, the buds make Achiote for achiote green beans recipe
Annato tree, the buds make Achiote for achiote green beans recipe

Achiote green beans, Ejotes Con Achiote, is a unique way to prepare green beans when you want to add brightness to your plate. The achiote brings out the sweetness and astringency of the  orange juice and Jalapeño infused into the green beans.  This is an example of how chiles are used not because of the flavorless, odorless capsaicin (heat) but for the taste and aroma of the particular chile, in this case Jalapeño.  In Yucatán the combination of Achiote with orange juice is used in various dishes.

Achiote is an iconic ingredient in Yucatán and it is derived from the seed of the Annato tree.  You can buy Achiote paste at most grocery stores.

The annato seed pods make an Achiote paste for Yucatán achiote green beans.
The annato seed pods make an Achiote paste for Yucatán achiote green beans.

The little Achiote seeds are inside pods.  As a powder or paste, the annato seeds, achiote, are deeply red and delicious.

This recipe is my adaptation of one by Chef Roberto Santibañez.

Recipe For Yucatán Achiote Green Beans

(For more Mexican recipes, see my cookbook: Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes)

Ingredients (serves four)
1/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced Jalapeño chiles that have been seeded and deveined
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup juice of a seville orange. This is usually one orange
2 tsp Achiote paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2  Tbs salt
1 lb green beans or haricots verts

Method
1. Preheat oven to 300o F
2.  In an enameled cast-iron casserole (or use a stainless steel dutch oven) heat the olive oil and add the onions and Jalapeños and cook until they are soft.
3.  Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients except the haricots verts and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine well the Achiote paste.
5. Add the haricots verts, stir, cover and stew in the oven for one to two hours, until the beans are tender.

Serve very hot, with a smile!ejoteachiotesml300

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