Charro Beans

This brothy beans dish is the perfect accompaniment to fajitas.


Just like there are people who prefer frozen or on-the-rocks margaritas, so it is with refried vs. charro beans. Our two-year-old daughter is our only native Texan in our family, and she chows charro beans like there’s no tomorrow. Its because of her love for the beans, that I learned how to make them at home. The secret is in the very flavorful broth that is almost addictive.


2 pounds dry pinto beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of bacon, cut into small pieces
8 oz of Andouille sausage or Mexican chorizo
1 large onion diced
1 large bell pepper, diced (its traditional to use a green pepper, but I used 1/2 a red and 1/2 a yellow pepper)
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and diced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Rinse and sort beans. Place them in a pot with 10 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the beans off and soak for 1 hour. Drain the beans, and add another 10 cups of fresh water to the pot. Bring to a boil again, and cook for an hour to an hour and a half (depending on package directions).

Meanwhile, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked. Remove the bacon from the pan, keeping some of the bacon grease and oil in the pan, and set aside in a large bowl. Cook the chorizo over medium heat, until browned. Remove from the pan and add to the bowl with the bacon (still leaving some grease and oil in the pan). Saute the onions in the same pan over medium heat, until translucent. Add the peppers and saute until soft. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Remove the vegetables from the pan and add to the bowl with the bacon and chorizo.

When the beans are about 15 minutes away from being done, add the bowl of bacon, chorizo, veggies and accumulated juices to the pot. Cook until the beans are just tender. Add cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve it as a side dish to fajitas, along with rice. Its also hearty enough that if you have leftovers, it makes a great meal all on its own.