OR….Authentic Charro Beans…. OR Méxican ‘Drunken’ Beans…whatever you call them, they are NOTHING like your North American canned variety of baked beans.
I learned to make these while vacationing in México a couple years ago. I attended a one day cooking class lead by a highly talented Méxican Chef (Pablo Lopez Espinosa de los Monteros… I know..long name eh?) at the Little Méxican Cooking School in Puerto Morelos, México and not only did I learn to make these absolutely YUMMY beans, but other recipes as well including guacamoles, salsas, home-made tortillas, sopes and I think my absolute fav… rajas con crema (Chile Poblano with Cream).
But today, we shall focus on the Charro Beans, which can be made Vegetarian by simply omitting the bacon and pork…
Don’t they look fabulous?
2 lbs dried Pinto Beans (or red beans if you can’t find the Pintos)
2 Cans diced tomatoes (15 ounce size, try to get the low-sodium type)
1/2 Can Tomato Sauce (15 ounce size)
2 large, White Onions, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
4 Scallions, sliced thinly
2 Large cloves Garlic, smashed
4 fresh Jalapeño Chile Peppers, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped, fresh Cilantro
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh Epazote leaves (if using dried, use 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 tsp New Mexico chile molido (ground New Mexican Chile Powder)
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp dried Méxican Oregano
1/2 tsp fresh cracked Black Pepper
1 x 12 ounce Bottle Beer
1/4 lb thick cut bacon, cubed
3/4 lb fresh, lean pork, cut into half-inch cubes (omit bacon and pork if making Vegetarian version)
Sort the beans to remove any foreign matter. Rinse several times until the water runs clear. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with several inches of water. Soak overnight.
Drain and rinse beans; cover with 2 inches of water ad bring to a boil. Simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours or until beans are cooked through. Drain, rinse and set aside.
In a large stock pot, heat 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil and then add the onion and scallions, saute for a few minutes until they start to get translucent. Add the garlic, peppers, Jalapeños, diced tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add all the spices and herbs and mix well. Set aside to simmer.
In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp, drain (reserving bacon fat) and set aside. In the same skillet, cook the pork cubes in the bacon fat until browned and cooked through, drain thoroughly.
Add the bacon and pork to the beans, then add the bottle of beer. Simmer (covered) over low-heat for about an hour to develop the flavours.
Excellent side dish to fish or chicken!
*Note, if you can not find the Epazote leaves, omit them. They are available in Méxican Markets either fresh or dried, I was lucky enough to find them dried on a trip to the states last year. Substitute regular Oregano for the Méxican Oregano if you can not find that either. Also, if you can not find the New Méxican Chile Molido, use Ground Ancho Chile Pepper.