I will never forget the time my aunt Hilda had cooked a meal for my family. She sat with me and we talked about life, food, and family. If I could describe her, she always seemed proper to me; giving her all in whatever she did. She loved her husband and children immensely, and had a refreshing sense of humor. My aunt Hilda is no longer with us, she passed away a few years ago, so I hold these memories dear.
That night she cooked Beef Brisket, Frijoles Charros, Mexican Rice, and Texas-style Potato Salad. I was eating spoonfuls of Frijoles Charros one after the other; I felt them go straight down to my soul. It was pure comfort. I asked for the recipe and she said, “With these specific ingredients, you get a handful of this, a pinch of that, and its all done.”. I didn’t get to write down the recipe and it was a good time after that I finally prepared them. I was pregnant with my first daughter and was craving them. Desperate for satisfaction, I went in the kitchen and guessed the recipe. They had to come out exactly right. Pregnant taste buds are particularly hard to please. HA! The first taste I took, I almost cried. I ate them until my heart was content.
So here I present my version:
Frijoles Charros (Cowboy Beans)
How to Cook the Pinto Beans:
- 2 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 8 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Note: 2 cups dried pinto beans make 6 cups cooked beans.
In a dutch oven or stock pot bring water to rapid boil. Add rinsed beans and olive oil. Season with salt. Give it a stir; allowing the oil and salt to incorporate. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 2 hours or until beans are tender. Keep an eye on the water during the whole process. Add more if necessary; this dish has a soupy consistency.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- Half bunch cilantro, rough chopped
- 2 slices of bacon, rough chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Optional: sliced jalapeños
Meanwhile the beans are cooking, prepare the vegetables.
Slice half a yellow onion, two Roma tomatoes, and rough chop half a bunch of cilantro.
In low-medium heat, sauté all the vegetables. Once onion is translucent add the garlic. This is so your garlic doesn’t burn and get bitter.
In a separate pan, cook the rough chopped bacon for about 2 mintues. You do not want the bacon to be crispy.
Incorporate the vegetables and bacon together and sauté for about a minute more.
Bring heat to low, add the vegetables/bacon saute to cooked beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the spices: onion and garlic powder. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Do a taste check and adjust accordingly.
Note: You could add sliced jalapenos if you want a little kick. 🙂
Serve in a bowl and enjoy with corn chips or alone.