Frijoles Charros, Charro Beans or Cowboy Beans is a hearty, traditional Mexican dish made with pinto beans in a light broth with loads of seasonings. Flavored with bacon, ham, chorizo, onions, chilies, tomatoes, spices and herbs, Charro Beans are perfect for feeding a crowd and is a great side dish at a cookout. Traditionally these Frijoles Charros were ranch food, meant to feed a crew of hungry cowboys (Charros) when I go out for Mexican food, I always substitute Charro Beans for the refried beans. They’re not always on the menu, but I’ve never been to a Mexican restaurant that didn’t have them.
In the winter, I like to make my beans from scratch, in the summer I prefer to use canned beans, it’s just too dang hot to simmer dried beans for 2-3 hours. A good quality canned bean is just fine in this instance and all the additional meats and spices make them out of this world delicious.
In the summer, I use bacon, ham, and chorizo, so you need to wait until the end of cooking to decide if you need any additional salt or not. In the winter, along with the bacon, ham, and chorizo, I add a rack of baby back pork ribs, the ribs have the most amazing flavor. The long simmer time to cook the beans is perfect for the ribs, the meat falls off the bone, perfectly tender and delicious. It really doesn’t get much better.
Charro Beans with cornbread, a sprinkle of queso fresco, diced avocado and a topped with freshly chopped cilantro, this is a great meal by itself or the perfect side dish for Mexican food or BBQ.
Here’s how I make my Charro Beans in the summer:
- 2 Cans Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed
- 1 Medium Onion, Diced
- 6 Cloves Garlic, Crushed and Diced
- 1 ½ Cups Diced Tomatoes
- ½ Pound Bacon, Diced
- ½ Pound Chorizo
- ½ Pound Ham, Diced
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise
- 1 Teaspoon Mexican Oregano (it doesn’t have to be Mexican)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1 Avocado, Diced, Toss in Lime Juice
- ¼ Pound Queso Fresco
-Add the diced bacon, chorizo and ham to a pot, fry until nicely browned
-Add the onion and jalapeno, sauté until onions are translucent, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds
-Add the beans, tomatoes, oregano, and water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low
-Simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 30 minutes
Serve with the cilantro, avocado and queso fresco on the side