Monday, June 25, 2012

Mexican Charro Beans

I am beyond giddy over sharing this recipe with you. This took weeks of experimenting and taste testing. No joke....I made this 4 times, tweaking it each time per all of my taste testers recommendations. I even brought these beans all the way to my sister in Baton Rouge to get her to test them! I am so thrilled that I finally got this recipe just right. Those of you who are lucky enough to live in Houston and are able to eat at Lupe Tortilla's are in for a treat. These Charro beans taste just like the beans they serve you with chips and salsa when you sit down. Oh boy! Lupe's is one of our favorite mexican places. We love their beef tacos al carbon. We especially love their charro beans. We could probably go through 3 or 4 cups of beans before we even get our meal! My sister was in town a couple months ago and she just loves Lupe's. So, of course, we went there. While we sat there eating the beans, we were also picking out each ingredient from the bowl. We were trying to figure out what made them so good. After investigating all the ingredients, my sister challenged me to try to create these beans at home. I'm always up for a challenge, especially when it involves food!  I was determined to duplicate these amazing beans. I am proud to say I think I did it! Clayton and my sister are amazed at how similar they taste to Lupe's beans. The ham hock and fresh cilantro really make this dish. I'm already excited to make these beans again! Sorry Lupe Tortilla, you may not be seeing us for awhile. ;-)
Mexican Charro Beans
Mexican Charro Beans Recipe by Lynn Wise
Ingredients:
1 bag (1 pound) dried pinto beans
5 slices bacon, diced
1 ham hock (mine still had some ham meat around it)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt, to taste (you will start with 2 teaspoons)
Pico De Gallo ingredients:
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave seeds in for a spicier pot of beans)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions:
Prepare your beans the night before you plan on cooking them. Rinse your dry beans well in a colander. Discard any rocks or shriveled beans. Place beans in a large pot and cover with water (make sure water level is at least 2 inches above the beans). Cover with lid and let beans sit overnight.
The next day, pour beans into colander and give it a good rinse under cold water. Return beans to pot. Add 5 cups warm water. Do not add cold water or else your beans may split.
Set pot of beans over medium heat. Add chopped bacon, minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons cumin. Stir. Add ham hock. Cover and let beans cook over medium heat (simmering) for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 
While beans are cooking, prepare your pico de gallo. Remove seeds from tomatoes and chop. Chop up half an onion. Remove seeds and membranes from jalapeno and dice. Combine tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno in a large bowl. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The pico de gallo can be made up to one day in advance.
After one hour, check on your beans. They should be softened by now. If not, continue cooking and check every 15 minutes. You want your beans to be soft enough to eat but not overly mushy. Add entire bowl of pico de gallo and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir well. Cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes over medium low heat. After 30 minutes, taste the beans. If they are not salty enough for you add more salt, 1/4 teaspoon at a time. If you will be serving these beans with chips (like we do), taste test the beans with a chip. The saltiness of the beans will vary due to the kind of bacon and ham hock you use. I added about 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
When beans are done, remove from heat. Using a 1 cup measuring cup, carefully scoop out about 1 cup of beans. With the back of a spoon, mash up your 1 cup of beans. Return to pot and stir well. (The purpose of this is to thicken the beans).
Serve beans immediately with chips.
Refrigerate leftover beans up to 5 days. Beans can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

19 comments:

  1. This is pretty much how I make my pintos! Sometimes I get lazy and just open a can of rotel insread of the fresh pico. But, your attention to detail probably makes a big difference.

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  2. Awesome!! I tried another recipe that was supposed to be like Lupe's beans and it didn't come close. I found your version yesterday and put my beans to soak. (BTW adding salt the the soaking water renders the beans seasoned, creamy after cooking with no split skins.) We're in Houston a lot for my husband's work and Lupe Tortilla's is our favorite restaurant there. My husband absolutely loves the beans and usually manages to get a second bowl from the waiter. I didn't tell Harris what I was doing with the beans and as we were sitting down tonight to watch the Saints game, he took a bite and said, "These taste just like the beans at Lupe's!!" I'd say that was best confirmation and compliment you could have for your recipe! Bravo and bien merci from Opelousas, LA. Best regards, Sharon

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    1. Hi Sharon! Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I'm so glad you liked this recipe. Now you don't need to come to Houston for Lupe's beans! ;-) Thanks for the salt tip! I'll definitely try that next time! Thanks again!

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    2. Thanks for the tip about the salt preventing the split skins. I had always been told not to salt beans until just before they are done or they would be hard.

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  3. Dang girl!
    This was far-out fabulous. I made this (tripled) for opening wknd at the beer, um, deer camp and it was gone like granny's teeth. All the guys want your number.

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    1. This cracked me up! I'm so glad the boys liked the beans! Thanks for commenting!

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    2. how much salt do you use when soaking the beans ????

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    3. Hi there! I don't add salt to the beans prior to cooking. I add the salt towards the end when they are nearly finished cooking. The amount will vary, depending on the saltiness of your ham hock. I start with 2 teaspoons and work my way up based on taste. Hope this helps!

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  4. Oh YUM YUM. Being a transplant from the north since a few years back and now living in Houston I needed a good charro recipe. I used some leftover ham and the bone from dinner last week and this turned out yummy! Paired it with some cornbread and not a peep from the family other then slurp slurp. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Elizabeth! I'm glad you and the family enjoyed these beans!

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  5. We moved to Lubbock from Houston and have been searching and searching for good Tex Mex. Nothing comes close to Lupe's. I'm so happy to have found this recipe! I'll serve it with my lupe copycat fajitas (and a margarita or two)! Thanks!

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    1. YUM! Do you have a blog and would you mind sharing your copycat Lupe's fajitas?! :) Thanks for commenting!

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  6. This week I was searching for a recipe for charro beans, and luckily for me, I came across your recipe, devised to taste like those at Lupe's Tortilla. I made a double recipe and yesterday took it to a luncheon, where there were raves over how delicious the beans are, and numerous requests for the recipe. I gave them your information, so you will have many new fans. You are Wise indeed. I give the recipe lots of Hoots.

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  7. Thank you so much for the recipe. I am looking forward to making it. I do plan to add some cured chorizo to the soup as I consider it an absolute necessity with most bean soups. Can you tell me if you used a smoked ham hock or a fresh?

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  8. I have two words to say, Lupe Tortilla. These were great beans and will be my go to recipe for beans from now on. I have looked for a long time for some really good charro beans. Thank you so much for this recipe.

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  9. These were awesome! I made them in my crock pot on low for 8 hrs and they turned out soooooo good! I used a ham shank from Whole Foods so the beans were nice and meaty. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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  10. I followed this recipe and they came out really good! Mine are still not as good as Lupe's... but they were still very good! Thank you!

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  11. Thank you! I live in Lake Charles. We love Mexican and always try to find a hole in wall restaurant where ever we go! I am going to try these out. I have a friend from Houston that always talks about Lupe's too!
    Thanks again,
    Kim

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  12. OK Ms. Wise, you have given me exactly what I was looking for. I could eat a huge bowl of these beans with warm tortillas or corn bread any day of the week! I am saving your recipe and will be getting the ingredients from the store this week. I have a ham hock in the freezer so I am looking forward to this extra special treat! I will be dining at Lupe Tortilla's tomorrow night and will eat my fair share of their beans. Having the ability to make them in abundance at home is a great gift. Thank you for this!!!

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