Charro Beans

Here's a recipe from my absolute favorite chef, Pati Jinich. Her cooking is magical and her interactions with others are beautiful to watch. I've seen her travel to some of my favorite places in Baja California and Arizona, and I can't help but fall in love every time I see her :-) Seriously, her show is incredible.

Here's Pati's Cowboy Charro Beans recipe; I've added some of my own touches as well.


Charro beans
Charro Beans!

  • 6 oz sliced uncooked bacon, chopped
  • 8 oz fresh uncooked Mexican chorizo, casings removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper finely chopped, more or less to taste, seeded if desired
  • 1/2 lb Roma tomatoes, about 2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 5 cups cooked pinto beans and their cooking liquid, or substitute with black or Peruvian beans

Other Ingredients/Notes

Another recipe calls for hot dogs or some other kind of sausage to be added along with the chorizo - I find that to be awesome. 👍  Also, chipotle chiles in adobo make a nice addition, as do cilantro and avocado added as a garnish. (Chipotle chiles in adobo are HOT, only add one and then taste. The adobo sauce is great too, but it's hot too - go lightly.)

I've also discovered that a tablespoon of red chile powder and slightly more than a tablespoon of cumin really do good things for the charros. I also add a little red enchilada sauce while things are cooking, it really lends a great flavor.

Another note, epazote adds a nice touch. Use about a teaspoon or just a little bit more.

Also, I added some dried cilantro just now and along with the epazote the flavor just exploded.

If it's still really soupy at the end, I like to make a roux out of masa (corn) flour and oil, about a 1/4 cup of each, and add it at the end.

I also like to add about a half can of beer - Mexican beer like Corona goes well, but so do sour IPAs! You decide.

What To Do With Them

  1. Cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is lightly browned and starting to crisp. (I always use thick-sliced bacon and it takes a lot longer than 3 to 4 minutes to brown and start to crisp - more like 10 or 15.)
  2. Add the chopped chorizo; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until it starts to brown and crisp. As it cooks, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into smaller pieces. If the chorizo begins to stick, pour in some red enchilada sauce and stir it around, getting the stuck-on food off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the chopped onion and jalapeño; mix well and cook for 1 or 2 more minutes, letting them soften a bit. Add the tomatoes and mix well; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes soften and appear mushy.
  4. Add the cooked beans and their cooking liquid. If you're using canned beans, drain them but not too well. Mix well and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the beans are moist but not soupy. Add a bit more liquid (beer, enchilada sauce...again, you decide) if needed. Taste, and add more salt to your taste. Serve hot.