|These beans (or a variation) are a staple here in the Southwest and Northern Mexico. While you could do them on the stovetop, I prefer using a slow cooker; I think the beans come out more tender that way.
To soak or not to soak the beans? I’ve done it both ways, and I like soaking them overnight. Most important, though, is thorough rinsing and sorting of the beans – I’m very picky when it comes to sorting; I even remove split beans, leaving only whole ones. A few minutes extra with sorting improves the quality of the finished product.
How long do you cook the beans? Let’s say I want to eat them Tuesday evening – on Monday night, I rinse and sort the beans, and then put them in a bowl with enough water to cover, plus one inch. Tuesday morning, I add them to the slow cooker, and cook all day. Tuesday evening, I have charro beans for dinner! I set my slow cooker up to automatically switch to low heat after they come to a simmer.
A tip: be careful about salting the beans… pinto beans typically require quite a bit of salt, since they absorb so much liquid, but: the chili powder you put in is loaded with salt, so it may be enough on its own. Always taste to make sure.
Another great feature of these beans is, they form the basis for my homemade refried beans – that recipe will follow in a few days (or whenever I feel like it, but it will be next).
Serve these babies as a side dish, or a main course with fresh tortillas. They also freeze wonderfully.
|2 cups||Dried pinto beans; rinsed, sorted and soaked|
|1 medium||Yellow or white onion, chopped|
|5 cloves||Garlic, minced|
|2 Tbs||Chili powder|
|1 tsp||Ground cumin|
|1 tsp||Dried oregano, regular or Mexican|
|12 oz. Pkg.||Salt pork|
|2-4 oz. Cans||Diced jalapeños or green chiles|
|Put beans in a slow cooker; add enough water to cover. Add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano; stir.
Set slow cooker on High and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat, and add drained jalapeños. Cut salt pork in approximately ½” cubes; add to slow cooker. Periodically add additional water to keep beans covered.
Cook for approximately 12 hours, or until beans are tender and pork is cooked.