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Frijoles de Charro

Serves

Makes about 1.5kg be

Cooks In

Over 60 minutes

Mexican cowboy beans, known as ‘frijoles de charros’ are typical in north México. To make this dish cook the pinto beans with onions, green chilli and tomato. Add smoked sweet paprika to any leftovers to make into refry

Method

  1. To cook the beans, rinse them under cold running water, removing any stones you may find, and put in a large saucepan with 1.75 litres of cold water. Soak the beans in the water for 2-4 hours until the middle of a bean is soft(not chalky) or quick soak by bringing to a boil for a couple of minutes then let sit for an hour.
  2. Add 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped, the bay leaves and árbol chillies. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook gently, adding water as necessary until the beans are soft (approx. 1.5-2 hours). There should be lots of liquid around the beans and they should be free floating at all times. Add the salt at the end of the cooking time, when the beans are soft. 
  3. To make refry remove two cups of the beans with liquid and reserve.

Recommendation:

  1. If using a pressure cooker for beans there is no need to soak the beans. Follow the recipe above by putting the rinsed by unsoaked beans in the pressure cooker with the rest of the ingredients, using only 1.5 litres water, let the pressure cooker come up to full steam, then reduce to low steam and cook for 45 mins.
  2. To complete the dish, peel and slice the remaining onion into 5mm thick half moons, cut the green chillies in half length ways, deseed, and then cut again into eighths, so you are left with strips.
  3. If you like it really spicy, leave the seeds in. If using fresh tomatoes, roast under a grill, then core and deseed them. If using a tin of whole plum tomatoes, drain, then cut them into quarters lengthways. Heat the 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan, when hot add the onions and the strips of chilli and fry until they are slightly blackened and start to go translucent but still have body. Add the quartered tomatoes, heat and stir gently trying not to break the tomatoes up.
  4. When the beans are tender, add the contents of the frying pan to the pot, stir, season with salt and simmer all together without the lid to let the flavours meld. The cowboy beans are ready when the liquid has thickened enough so it begins coating the beans. Check for seasoning again and serve.

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Suggestion:

Serve each bowl of Frijoles de Charro with a poached egg on top.

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Frijoles de Charro

  1. Take 2 cups of the Cowboy beans (from recipe above, before you add the vegetables) and blend with a stick blender or a potato masher. Heat the 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, when really hot add the cups of Cowboy beans,1 tsp. of smoked sweet paprika and mash together. Be careful as the beans will spit whilst cooking. 
  2. Stir and fry until all the oil is absorbed. Turn out onto a plate, sprinkle over some crumbly cheese (ricotta salata if you can get hold of it) and serve with tacos or as a warm dip with corn chips.

Reheating:

Beans will keep in the fridge covered for about 3 days. They also freeze well. Always reheat beans thoroughly, stirring to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom of your pan.