Thursday, April 7, 2011

Frijoles Charros: Cowboy Beans

Frijoles CharrosFrijoles Charros (Cowboy Beans) is an authentic Mexican dish named after the traditional Mexican horsemen, or Charros, and though it's native to northern Mexico it's served everywhere in the country whether or not cowboys live in the area.

The dish is characterized by pinto beans stewed with onion, garlic, and bacon. Other common ingredients, depending on the cook and regional traditions, include chilies, tomatoes, coriander, ham, sausage, pork and chorizo. Other ingredients may also be added, depending...

If you like beans, you'll be hard pressed to find them cooked in a more delicious way! Serve them with some warm tortillas for sopping up the juice, and you don't need anything else!

I'm giving you a recipe that calls for dried beans, soaked and cooked; but you can substitute canned pinto beans if you're in a hurry. Also note that this recipe makes enough to feed a crowd. It's perfect for tailgating or a potluck, in which case you can keep it warm in a big crock pot. It also freezes well if there are fewer of you, so you'll have great leftovers when you need something quick and don't feel like cooking!

  • 2 Pounds dried pinto beans
  • 2 Smoked ham hocks
  • 2 Italian sausages, sliced or diced (your choice)
  • 6 Whole cloves garlic
  • 1 Large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 Jalapeno Chile Peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chicken bouillon
  • 6 Slices Bacon
  • 1/2 Pound chorizo, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, finely chopped


Wash beans and soak covered with water overnight.

Drain beans, add fresh water to cover, and bring to a boil in a large pot. Add the smoked ham hocks, Italian sausage and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer one hour.

Remove the garlic and mash it, returning it to the beans. Add onion, diced chile peppers, oregano and chicken bouillon and simmer another 1 1/2 to 2 hours until beans are tender. Remove ham hocks, remove the skin and bones and add meat back into the beans. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.

Check beans at regular intervals to make sure there’s enough water; the mixture should be on the soupy side.

While beans are cooking, fry the bacon in a pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook a few minutes until it is crumbly and browned, stirring frequently. Drain. Break bacon into pieces. Stir the mixture into the beans when the beans are fully cooked. Add salt to taste.

Simmer another 15 minutes or so to meld the flavors. Keep warm until ready to serve. When ready to serve, top with some cilantro and maybe some crumbled cheese if you like.

For the adventurous: You can add a poached or fried egg (sunny side up) on top of the beans for a special treat. The yolk combines with the beans in a most delicious way!

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain