Frijoles Charros; Charro (Cowboy) Beans

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What can I say about beans that hasn’t been said before? They’re nutritious, delicious and sometimes they even make you sing songs from your butt. (Err… Crass Much?) Hell, I’m only a few weeks into blogging and this is already my third post on beans. If that doesn’t demonstrate my love for beans then perhaps I should stand outside holding a boom box over my head.On the agenda for today: Frijoles Charros (Charro or Cowboy Beans)Without getting into too much of a history lesson, a charro is essentially a Mexican cowboy; the word itself originated from the Central Western region of Mexico – the dish (in various forms) can be traced back to the same region. Basically we’re talking about a rustic bean stew that was born on the ranches of Mexico. Since then, different versions have made their way up north and found a lasting place as a popular Tex-Mex dish. I’m not sure where my version fits into this equation but it’s one I know how to make!So. Yeah.This is the sort of dish you might see at a family cook-out; it’s often made in a slow-cooker on the day – or the day before. My version isn’t such a drawn out process – I’ve adapted the recipe to be a little easier. It’s essentially a recipe that utilizes cooked beans and not a dish that starts with dry beans – make sense? And, you can totally use canned beans here. Just be sure to rinse them well and use a flavorful vegan broth instead of the (usual) bean broth. I also make a batch of ‘smoky seitan bits’ that I cook separately and add to the final dish. (Recipe Below) It’s completely optional but acts as both flavor and texture component (I always have leftover seitan laying around so its usually a no-brainer for me. If you don’t that’s cool. But you should have more seitan in your life anyways – just sayin’! 

Frijoles Charros | Charro Beans

3 Cups Cooked Pinto beans
2 TBS Vegetable Shortening (Or Oil, I prefer shortening)
1 Medium Onion – Diced
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
2 Roma Tomatoes – seeded and diced
1/4 Cup Cilantro chopped
1 Jalapeno – seeded and diced

Broth Mixture:
1 Cup bean broth or flavorful veg*n broth
1 TBS Nutritional Yeast
A few drops of liquid smoke
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp smoked parika
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano (crushed)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Salt & fresh lime to taste

1. Whisk together all of your ‘Broth Mixture’ and set aside
2. Melt shortening in a rimmed saute pan or pot over medium-high heat for 1 minute or until shortening is melted.
3. Add diced onion and peppers and saute for 2 minutes
4. Add cooked beans, tomatoes and cilantro and saute for 2 minutes
5. Add your broth mixture, stir thoroughly and bring to a rolling boil; lower heat to the lowest setting and cook for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
6. Stir in your seitan or serve portions in individual bowl – if using.

Side Note: I like to add a squeeze of lime to my bowl for a bit of acidity.

Smoky Seitan Bits:

1/2 Cup diced Seitan
2 tsp oil

For Braise:
1/4 Cup Water
1 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
few drops of liquid smoke

1. Heat oil in a saute pan.
2. Saute diced Seitan; stiring to heat evenly.
3. When you’ve derived a nice color to the seitan (a few darker/charred bits are fine) add your braising liquid and lower heat to low.
4. Cook until the majority of your braising liquid has evaporated.
5. Drain on a paper-towel.

2 responses to “Frijoles Charros; Charro (Cowboy) Beans

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