Southwestern Beans – Frijoles Charros

My friend Deb was talking with me on the phone the other day and said how much she liked it when I share recipes with her.  So this post is written with Deb in mind, but I hope my other followers will enjoy trying this one out also.

I enjoy many vegetarian meals even though I am not a vegetarian.  Well maybe I am leaning towards or I might have the tendency of becoming one.  I almost never eat meat anymore. Maybe once a month I may cook a piece of lamb or beef but mostly I eat seafood and veggies and beans.  I often use bacon or pancetta in my recipes, so as you can see, not a real vegetarian.  I think some dishes just need the flavor of some meat in them. 

So having explained that, here is the recipe for a great bean dish that tastes good any time of the day, breakfast, lunch or as a side dish to dinner. 


1 lb dry pinto beans, 14 cups cool water, 3 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced, 1 large onion, chopped, divided, 1 tsp salt, 2 fresh chili peppers, roasted and chopped, 4 strips thick bacon, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 large tomatoes, chopped, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped.

Rinse the beans and soak overnight in 7 cups of water.  The next day, pour off soaking water, rinse the beans and the pot and then add the remaining 7 cups of water, garlic, half of the onion.  Simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ hours.  Add the salt the last 30 minutes. 

Rinse the chili peppers, let cool and peel off the skin, separate the flesh from the veins and seeds and set aside.  While the beans are simmering, fry the bacon until crisp, being careful not to blacken the drippings in the pan.  Drain the bacon on paper towels, drain the fat from the skillet, and leave behind any bits and pieces for flavor.  Add the olive oil to the skillet, when it is hot add the remaining onion, tomato, garlic and roasted chopped chilies.  Cook for about 1 minute and then add to the pot of beans along with the bacon and cilantro.  Simmer for 5 more minutes and serve.

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