Sonora Gallina Pinta

I was so excited when I found this used cook book by Diana Kennedy, “The Cuisines of Mexico.”   Ms. Kennedy lived many years in Mexico with her husband who worked as a New York Times correspondent.

Through regional travel, tasting and in conversations with local cooks, Ms. Kennedy discovered the delicious varieties of Mexican cuisine.  Just like Japanese food is not just sushi, American not just hot dogs and hamburgers, Mexican food is not just tacos, enchiladas and burritos.  I couldn’t wait to begin!

No stranger to real Mexican food; my mother born in Brazos County, Texas cooked some weekly at home; pinto beans soaking overnight on the counter were a welcome sign of good things to come.  She also took us to small, family run, neighborhood  restaurants in California.  Don’t think Tex-Mex, but authentic Mexican home meals.

Sonora, Mexico is an arid to semi-arid desert and shares a border with Arizona.  After reading the recipe I thought this might explain the lack of tomatoes and paucity of aromatics and herbs.  Not the greatest growing environment for vegetation.  No chillies or powder could be a Sonoran preference and/or a sort of Tex-Mex influence from American Arizonians.  Poverty?  No, Sonora is known for their plenitude of beef cows and the recipe also includes pork ribs.

Well, I chose this recipe first because of the oxtails, hominy and pinto beans but I couldn’t stop myself from turning this bland stew into something my family would eat. I added 2 onions instead of 1/4 onion, 6 cloves of garlic instead of 2, cumin, oregano and habenero chillies( 1 is enough, I exaggerated with two).

Not Sonoran authentic but very, very good!

Sonoran Beef and Pork Stew 

2 lbs oxtails

2 onions, roughly sliced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp salt

6 peppercorns

2 quarts of water

1 1/2 lbs sliced spareribs, chopped into 4 pieces each with a cleaver

2 cans of hominy, yellow or white, drained

1 whole habanero chilli, slit open on one side

Place the oxtails, onion, garlic, beans, salt, oregano, cumin, peppercorns and water in a large stockpot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the ribs, hominy and chilli to the pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with salsa and tortillas.



About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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13 Responses to Sonora Gallina Pinta

  1. Mad Dog says:

    She’s not dead yet and still lives in Mexico! Diana Kennedy is the subject of a film that came out last year, called Nothing Fancy. The book is a very good find!

  2. Chris says:

    I’d like to make this, esp as I have a couple of packets of pinto beans in the cupboard that I’ve been wanting to use and not finding the right recipes, plus it sounds delicious.
    Only issue for me is finding hominy in uk supermarkets whilst we’re in lockdown. Can I substitute polenta for the hominy?

    • Stella says:

      I’m glad you asked the question. Otherwise I was going to. It does sound rather good but as you say, what can we use instead of hominy. I would also assume polenta but it’s probably a good idea to check.

    • Chris/Stella – looked at substitutes and polenta was mentioned, but polenta is corn meal and hominy is corn kernels. I would go for regular corn kernels or chickpeas.

  3. Trix Rendert says:

    Thank you for blogging again..this looks delicious..perfect for the weather we are having now..thank you..

  4. Laura McPherson says:

    Looks like a good one to try, esp. with your upgrades!! I took both of her early books with me for our Somalia posting along with a large supply of dried peppers and masa. I think the Frijoles Borrachos was the most durable favorite — the beer adds a lot! — but my book also has “excellent” notes for the Chuletas de Puerco Adobadas and Chiles Rellenos. Also several fish dishes but that was when we lived by the sea, sigh … ENJOY!!

  5. chef mimi says:

    She’s a hoot! I just watched a documentary about her at her home in Mexico. Just don’t tell her you don’t like cilantro or she’ll kick you out! I have her first cookbook, and it’s so involved, I’ve cooked very little out of it. I mean, why make something when you’re missing 3-4 ingredients?!!

  6. Pingback: Sonora Gallina Pinta — Cooking in Sens | Ninny's Nest

  7. Hi Mimi. I’ve just found the film on Amazon and plan on watching it.

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