Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Frijoles a la Charra... Charro Beans

Kathy and I have been cooking this amazing bean dish for groups, large and small, for more than three decades.  It's one of most requested recipes!
Frijoles a la Charra
Charro Beans
(From my book, A Gringo's Guide to Authentic Mexican Cooking.)
The average gringo thinks refried beans are the only way beans are served in Mexico. This recipe is another typical Mexican recipe. You’ll find these beans all over Mexico but especially around Mexico city.

3 cups (about 1 pound) dried pink beans
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 cups water
1 bottle of Negro Modelo Mexican beer
3/4 pound bacon, fried, crumbled, and drained (reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings for finish)
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-tablespoon corn oil
4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, and chopped
2 dried chipotle chiles
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1-teaspoon whole Mexican oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped epazote or cilantro

Finishing ingredients:
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, finely chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/3 cup 100% Agave Tequila

Fresh corn tortillas, chopped cilantro, chile tepins, lime wedges, finely chopped white onion

Sort beans, removing any foreign material, and rinse well. Place beans in a large, deep pan filled with water and white vinegar. Let beans soak overnight.
Remove beans from water and rinse well. Discard soaking water. Place beans, 6 cups fresh water, beer, bacon, onion, garlic, oil, chiles, salt, cumin, oregano and cilantro or epazote in a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few hours until beans are tender. Using a bean masher or fork, mash just a few of the beans, enough to slightly thicken the bean broth.

To finish:
In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the reserved bacon drippings for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add all other finishing ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes; add to pot of beans. Simmer for 1/2 hour more. Adjust seasoning. Serve with warm tortillas and other garnishes on the side.
Serves 6 to 8

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