Welcome to Esteban Castillo’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we’re exploring five staples stocking Esteban’s Mexican-American kitchen.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received came from my mom, when she told me, “Aprende a cocinar una buena olla de frijoles y nunca tendrás hambre,” or, learn how to make a good pot of stovetop beans, and you’ll never be hungry. After she told me this, I realized frijoles de la olla, with pinto beans swimming in a broth with aromatics like onion, cilantro, and garlic, regularly kept me and my siblings fed when our parents couldn’t afford to put anything else on the table. So when I was first learning how to cook, I made sure to follow my mom’s advice: I perfected a pot of beans.