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Charro Beans

by elyn_ryn

What are Charro Beans

Charro Beans are Mexican-style pinto beans seasoned with spices, onions, and tomatoes. They can be served as an entree or side dish, but they also are great as a dip with tortilla chips! These beans have extra flavor from country ham, garlic, jalapenos, chicken broth, and cilantro.

Use a Slow Cooker to Finish the Beans

Soak dry pinto beans overnight. In the morning, add them to a pot and boil them for about 30 minutes. Then place them into a slow cooker and finish cooking the beans. Why the 2-step process? Dry beans contain a toxic substance called lectin that is only destroyed by high heat. Some slow cookers might not get hot enough to destroy the lectin, so the beans are boiled first and then placed into the slow cooker to finish the cooking. Although pinto beans have less lectin than high-lectin kidney beans, it is still good practice to boil them first to destroy the lectin.

Country Ham vs Bacon

This recipe uses country ham to flavor the beans. If you are not familiar with country ham, it is a salty, dry-cured, smoked ham. It usually comes thinly sliced in a packet. When this ham is cooked by itself, it is salty and chewy.

You can use bacon in place of country ham for this recipe. Some might argue that country ham imparts a little more flavor than bacon, and it’s a nice twist since so many charro recipes use bacon. However, bacon is more readily available for most people, so I included the substitution amount in the recipe.

Chicken Broth

Another thing that imparts extra flavor to these beans is chicken broth. The beans are actually cooked in broth rather than water, making them more flavorful.

Vegetables

This recipe has tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, green onions, and garlic. You can add other peppers for a spicier taste if you like. Because these beans are cooked long and slow in a slow cooker, I chop the vegetables larger to withstand the long cook time. Enjoy!

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Charro Beans
Made from scratch and cooked in a slow cooker, these pinto beans have onions, garlic, jalapeno, country ham, tomato, and cilantro.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 1/2 hours
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 1/2 hours
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Rinse the beans. Then add them to a medium-sized bowl and cover with water. Make the water level 2 inches over the beans. Soak overnight. The next day, pour off the water and rinse the beans.
  2. Place the beans into a large pot. Cover them with water. Place them on medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes. Drain. Place the beans into the slow cooker.
  3. Rinse the country ham to remove some of the salt and add it to the cooker. (If using bacon, add it along with 2-3 tablespoons bacon grease.) Then add the stock, onion, garlic, black and cayenne peppers, jalapeno, cumin, and tomatoes.
  4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 7 hours on high.
  5. Add the cilantro and green onion for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  6. When the beans finish cooking, remove the country ham from the slow cooker and pull the lean meat into small pieces. Discard any fat or bone and return the lean meat to the beans.
Recipe Notes

Hard Water

Hard water can increase the cooking time of dried beans. There are two ways to fix this problem. First, add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the hard tap water for every pound of beans. Or, you can use bottled water in place of tap water.

Old Beans

Old beans can be hard even after cooking them for a long time in the slow cooker. Always use fresh dry beans to avoid this problem.

Cornstarch

To thicken the charro cooking liquid, make a cornstarch 1-to-1 slurry (equal amounts of cornstarch and water). For example, place 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into a small bowl and add 2 teaspoons of water; stir. Whisk the slurry into the beans and stir until thickened. If you like even thicker bean soup, add an additional slurry, one teaspoon at a time, until the beans are like you want them.

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