Frijoles Charros roughly translates to cowboy beans. These yummy beans originated out on ranches as a way for cowboys to make a hearty, warm pot of beans. Glad someone thought to do this because they are yum-my. The key ingredient to frijoles charros (aside from the beans) is good old fashioned bacon. It helps give it a smoky zing. I have substituted it with vegetarian bacon but the salty smoky flavor is still there. Add some onions, tomatoes and chilies and you got yourself one filling bowl of beans.
WHAT YOU NEED:
– 2 cups of dry pinto beans, rinsed and sorted;
-4-6 cups of water;
– 4 strips of vegetarian or vegan bacon;
– ½ onion, chopped;
-2 tomatoes, chopped;
– ½ to 1 whole serrano pepper;
– 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce (El Pato Tomato sauce for some extra heat);
– 1 teaspoon of cumin;
WHAT YOU DO:
Soak beans overnight (at least 8 hours). When ready, drain and rinse once more.
Place beans in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cook on high until boiling then bring heat down to medium. Continue to cook until beans are tender (anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours). Add salt and give a good stir. Do not salt beans at the beginning. The salt will keep the beans from softening. Big no no. Cook bacon according to package directions.
Once bacon is crispy, crumble or chop into small pieces. In a large sauté pan sauté onions, tomatoes and serrano until soft. Next add tomato sauce.
Toss in bacon and beans (juice and all) to the mix. Add cumin and more salt if needed. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes to meld all the flavors together.
The longer it sits the better. To serve, ladle beans into a bowl. Chow down.