Frijoles a la Charra (or charro beans) are a nice change from refried beans. These beans help to make a delicious soup that is inexpensive to make. What’s more, you can make these ahead of time, and the flavor will only get better. This copycat version of Pappasito’s charro beans soup is made with pinto beans and bacon in a rich tomato-based sauce flavored with onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder.
Table of Contents
What Are Charro Beans?
Charro beans (frijoles charro) are also known as cowboy beans from the Mexican cowboys who dined on them. Over time, they became a traditional Mexican side dish that is made by cooking dried pinto beans long and slowly in a broth full of amazing flavors.
These flavors come from other ingredients, which can include onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and meat (usually bacon, but ham, sausage, and chorizo can also be used).
- Drunken Beans (frijoles borrachos) is an interesting variation on charro beans. This is basically the same recipe with some Mexican beer added (Borracho means drunk in English). Pork rinds may also be used to change the flavor up a little bit more.
In Mexico, steakhouses will bring this bean soup to your table before your meat course – you don’t even have to ask for it. The soup all by itself is a hearty dish to warm you on a cold winter day.
Ingredients for Charro Beans
These beans can be made inexpensively, and are a great addition to any meal. This is what you need to make charro beans:
- Dried Pinto Beans
- Chili Powder
What Are Roma Tomatoes?
This recipe calls for Roma tomatoes. A Roma tomato is meaty and egg-shaped with thick walls. It is bright red in color, has few seeds, and is about three inches long.
This tomato is not juicy and is not meant for slicing into salads. The flesh is thicker and drier than other tomatoes so it can cook down into a thick sauce that intensifies the tomato’s already rich flavor.
It’s a tomato that’s great for canning, making pasta sauces, and tomato pastes.
How to Make Charro Beans
- Soak the pinto beans in water overnight.
- Cook the bacon, onions, and garlic.
- Combine soaked beans, bacon, onion, garlic, and seasonings.
- Simmer until the beans are soft and heated through.
- Add tomatoes. Serve and enjoy!
These beans taste even better the second day.
- You can add extra bacon, smoked sausage, or chunks of ham.
- Add a little pico de gallo when eating them.
- Omit the bacon if you want to enjoy the beans vegetarian style.
Can You Freeze Charro Beans?
Yes, you can freeze charro beans. I love to make extra bean soup to store in the freezer. Charro beans taste even better when you reheat them. Plus, this soup is really handy for when you don’t feel like cooking. Just defrost, reheat, and serve with warm tortillas.
Love Beans? Try These Recipes
- How to Cook Pinto Beans in a Pressure Cooker
- Crockpot Chicken with Black Beans
- Easy Barbecue Beans Recipe
- Sausage and Baked Beans
- How to Make Black Beans
- Calico Beans Recipe
- Treebeards Red Beans and Rice Recipe
More Mexican Favorites
- How to Make Cheese Dip like Mexican Restaurants
- Chipotle Mexican Grill Barbacoa
- Chipotle Restaurant Corn Salsa Recipe
- Taco Bell Mexican Pizza Recipe
- How to Make Cheese Enchiladas Mexican Style
- Green Dip at Mexican Restaurants
Pappasito’s Cantina Frijoles a la Charra
- 1 1/2 pounds pinto beans uncooked
- 1 gallon cold water
- 3/4 pound bacon cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup chopped garlic
- 4 tablespoon cilantro plus more for garnish
- 1 cup chopped white onions
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1/2 gallon cold water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes
- Soak the beans in 1 gallon of cold water for 8 hours. Drain when ready to use.
- In a large (2-gallon) heavy pot, cook the bacon cubes until well done – the bacon should not be undercooked.
- Add the onions, 1/2 cup of garlic, and cilantro, to the hot bacon and cook until the onions are transparent.
- Add the beans, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well and add 1/2 gallon of cold water. Set heat to medium-low, add the salt, and stir well.
- Cook the beans slowly until they are tender (approximately 1 hour). Stir constantly to avoid burning the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of garlic, extra cilantro for garnish, and serve.