Charro Beans with Chorizo
The fiestas may be cancelled for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Mexican flavors at home! Bringing the fiesta to your own kitchen is easy and delicious with these Charros con Chorizo! Charro beans, or pintos simmered with tomatoes, some sort of pork product (usually bacon), and spices, are a staple on almost every Tex Mex restaurant menu. Frijoles charros are the perfect amigo to sizzling fajitas, cheesy enchiladas, crispy tacos, etc. I have made this version with dried chorizo instead bacon- you get the same smoky, rich flavor with some added spice! Plus, you don’t have to work around rubbery pieces of bacon fat floating around in your beans (not appetizing, IMO). If you can find Palacios brand chorizo, it’s my favorite. I often stick it on cheese platters with some good manchego! But any quality brand will do- just make sure you’re looking for dried or “seco” and not fresh/raw.
Remember to soak your beans the night before for creamier, quicker cooking charros (often the easiest step for me to forget). Each bag is a little different, but most pintos will take between 3-4 hours to become tender. Be patient and cook low and slow! This is an ideal "quarantimes" recipe: you've got the time, you've probably got most of the ingredients on hand already, and you can nosh off a big pot of charros for days! Now, what are you waiting for? ¡Ándale!
prep time: 12 hrs (includes soaking beans) cook time: 3-4 hrs. serves: 8-10
1 lb dried pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
1 tbsp avocado or vegetable oil
4 oz dried cooked chorizo, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 jalapeño, with or without seeds, minced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1-10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilis, such as Rotel
The night before you plan to make the beans, place the dried pinto beans in a heavy lidded Dutch oven or soup pot and cover with water by a few inches. Place the lid on the pot and let the beans soak overnight.
Drain the beans the next day and thoroughly dry out the pot. Place the pot on the stove set over medium heat and pour in the oil. Add the chorizo and brown it all over, stirring occasionally 3-5 minutes. Once the chorizo is brown and has rendered some fat, add the onion, jalapeño and garlic and stir to cook another 3-5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano and bay leaf and cook 1 minute more. Add in the tomatoes, cilantro and beans and stir to coat.
Pour in enough water to cover the beans by 2”, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the beans, uncovered, until they are tender and the liquid has thickened. This could take between 3 and 4 hours, but every bag of beans is a little different! Add more water as needed if the beans are drying out. Once the beans are tender, season to taste with salt- I used about 2 tsp. Serve hot!