Quick Charros

Frijoles Charros (Charro or Cowboy Beans) are a staple of Mexican cooking. They are to Mexican barbecues, what baked beans are to American ones. But, while baked beans have a tendency to be on the sweet side (at least the ones I’ve tasted), frijoles charros are on the spicy side.

There’s many recipes for making these, as everybody has their own palate. This is just a quick version.

I started out with dry beans, but if you don’t have the chance to get them cooked, a few cans of beans will work in a hurry. Pinto beans are the norm here.

THE BITS AND PIECES

  • About one pound of dry pinto beans.
  • 1 package of Mexican chorizo.
  • Half an onion, chopped.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
  • a good couple pinches of ground cumin.
  • Broth, as needed (chicken or pork, your choice).
  • Dry parsley.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Serving garnishes to taste: sour cream, crumbled queso fresco, lime juice, pico de gallo, avocado, tortilla chips.

HOW TO

  1. If using dry beans, pick them clean, rinse and cook them with a bit of salt, pepper and a bay leaf. I like to leave them cooking overnight in a crockpot. You can also cook them ahead and freeze them.
  2. If using canned beans, drain the liquid off and rinse them well.
  3. In a large pot, heat up a tablespoon of oil on medium heat and add the chorizo. Break it up as it cooks. Add the onion and garlic.
  4. Once the chorizo is starting to crisp, add your beans (and their cooking liquid if you made them fresh. If you used canned, add water or broth to compensate. Your ingredients should be covered). Add the can of tomatoes (with juices), your spices and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let them cook until all flavors are well combined and the beans are mushy soft.
  6. Serve in bowls, with your choice of garnishes.

NOTES

  • Mexican chorizo is different from other sausages with the same name, which are cured. It is a loose, raw pork and spice mixture caracterized by red color. You can find it in casings (which you’ll have to remove before cooking), or in trays as you’d find ground beef. For the most part, they’re usually sold in the same amount (10-16 oz). You can also find beef and soy chorizo out there if you want to substitute.
  • Other things sometimes added to frijoles charros: bacon, sliced hot dogs/sausages. Sautee them separatedly before adding to the pot. Also, serrano or jalapeño chiles.
  • As with all soups/stews, this tastes amazing the next day.
  • Feel free to skim the fat off the top as it cooks.
  • Chorizo can be salty. Keep this in mind as you adjust your spices.
  • ENJOY!