Try this simple recipe for a tasty traditional Southwest Indian drink made from Mesquite beans.
Atole de Pechita
1 pound dry mesquite pods
6 cups water
1 ¾ cups raw cane sugar, or 1 block piloncillo
2 sticks cinnamon
¾ cup corn masa harina or fresh corn masa
1 cup water (to mix with the masa)
In a non-reactive sauce pan place the mesquite pods with the water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Take pods from liquid, reserving liquid. Let the pods cool a little bit before handling.
In a food processor place half the cooked mesquite pods and pulse for about 2 to 3 minutes. The seeds will not break and there will be rather large pieces of the pod, and it’s alight.
Place a double mesh strainer on top of the reserved liquid and proceed to squeeze with your hand as much liquid as possible out of the processed pods, then discard seeds and leftover broken pods. Repeat this step to process remaining pods.
Bring the liquid to a boil and add the sugar and cinnamon. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using piloncillo simmer until the entire block of piloncillo has been dissolved.
Mix the cup of water with the masa. Using the double mesh strainer, strain the masa liquid over the simmering mesquite liquid. Mix well to incorporate the masa into the simmering liquid. Continue simmering for five to eight more minutes and turn the heat off. Remove pan from the hot stove. Serve hot on a cold day.
Our thanks to Mike Foster of San Pedro River Videos for this video. Mike creates educational videos for free distribution throughout the Sonoran Desert and more generally, the Southwest, including Mexico. IF you would like to see more of these videos, you can visit our video page on Southern Arizona Guide or follow Mike on Vimeo at San Pedro River Videos.