The recipe for cowboy beans (frijoles charros)

The Frijoles Charros is an authentic mexican recipe for a hearty side dish that goes well with many other mexican main dishes; it can also be served as the main dish. In spanish, the term charros refers to horsemen, or cowboys; as the cowboy culture taking place in the mid 19th century american wild west was also quite alive in northern Mexico. This recipe was for a satisfying meal that could be made with whatever scraps of meat that came to hand, mixed with beans, eaten around a campfire...

Recipe for the mexican cowboy beans:

Ingredients for 8 hungry cowboys:

* 2 lb. pinto beans (black, pinto, red; whichever ones you have)
* 1/2 medium onion (for soaking)
* 1 and 1/2 finely chopped onion (for the stew)
* 3 cloves garlic (for soaking)
* 2 large cloves garlic, minced (for stew)
* 6 ripe red plum tomatoes,
* 5 arbol chiles
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground pepper
* 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
* 1/2 lb. smoked bacon
* 1/2 lb. ham or smoked pork chop
* 1/2 lb. Vienna sausages or Frankfurters
* 1/2 lb. Chorizo sausages
* 1/2 lb. of chicharrón (fried pork rinds or skin)
* A bunch of thoroughly washed and chopped cilantro


1) Rinse the beans, make sure there are no rocks and make them soak with enough water to cover them all night, with the onion and garlic and a tablespoon of salt along with them. The beans will absorb most of the water.

2) The following day, put them to cook in a crock pot until they are well cooked. The time it will take varies depending on the type of beans you use and the heat level you use. I personally like to use a pressure cooker to cook my beans in much less time.

3) Finely chop the tomato, onion and garlic and reserve. In a large and thick pot with enough room for the all the ingredients, start by cooking the bacon over low heat so that its flavorful bacon fat begins to melt, then add all the sausages and the diced ham. When everything is well cooked add the chicken broth powder.

4) Add the onion with the garlic, once it adds the tomato sauce and let it cool very well. At this point add the chiles, cumin powder and pepper. Simmer everything over low heat and pour in the cooked beans; simmer for a while longer so that all flavors combine...

This dish should remain somewhat liquid, not thick but definitely not as fluid as a soup. Right at the end mix in the chicharrón, chopped cilantro and take off the stove when ready.

Thats it, enjoy your cowboy beans!

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