May 2, 2011

Recipe - Charro Beans

Good morning! Hope everyone had a GREAT weekend. We are finally starting to get some warmer weather here in NYC and it felt so nice to walk around without a heavy winter coat and snow boots for the first time in 5 months! It really does wonders to improve your mood when the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting.

I wanted to share this recipe for Charro Beans with you because I think it is perfect for springtime and the upcoming Cinco de Mayo. I made these to go with the Potato Tacos I posted about last week, but as yummy as the tacos were, I think I might have loved these beans even more. They're just so nourishing and satisfying and best of all VERY healthy so you can eat as much as you want and not have to cry in the closet from shame afterwards. (Am I the only one who does that? Hmmm...)  

It's weird that didn't encounter this style of beans until I was well into my 20s. A lot of Mexican restaurants in Tucson serve Sonoran-style food and the beans are generally of the refried persuasion with lots of melted yellow cheese on top (the kind you can peel off the top with a fork... you know what I'm talking about!). I was finally introduced to my bean soulmate at one of my favorite Tucson restaurants, appropriately named... El Charro! I used to work in dangerously close proximity their downtown location and my friend Michelle and I would eat lunch there more often than was prudent. There was just something so very relaxing about sitting on their sunny porch, sharing a salad, a cheese crisp (pre-vegan days) and occassionally sneaking in a beer (shhhh!). But the Charro beans were always the best choice, all at once warm, filling, and healthy. It's nice to get back to basics sometimes!

I feel like I type the phrase "Johnny was skeptical" a lot, but it's true! He's a picky eater, what can I say? Anyway, he was very hesitant to try these (especially after devouring three potato tacos), but I made him take one bite just so I could share his opinion. He liked them so much that he continued eating, unprovoked by me! I think he was deliriously tired, but it seemed I could do no wrong in the kitchen that night by him. :-)

This dish takes a little planning as you have to soak your beans for at least 8 hours. This is definitely the recommended method of cooking them as it means a shorter cooking time (so you cook out less of the nutrients) and in soaking you get rid of some of the indigestible complex sugars that make you gassy. No one likes a Gassy Gus! I just toss the beans and water in a large bowl before work and stick it in the fridge and by the time I get home they're ready to go. You can also buy canned beans and reduce the cooking time to really nothing at all, but beware of the sodium content of canned beans - rinsing them first will help get rid of some salt. Hope you enjoy!  

A dramatic little picture for such a charming dish!
Charro Beans
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
1 tbsp olive oil
2 spring onions or 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 12 oz bottle of Mexican beer
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
One handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Place the beans in a large bowl and fill with water. (Ensure there is plenty of water as the beans will plump up as they soak and you want to make sure they remain covered by the water.) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 8 hours.

When the beans are soaked, drain them of their soaking liquid and rinse well. Place into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook until almost completely tender, about 45-50 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until transluscent. Add the tomatoes and jalapeno and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until everything is tender. Pour in the beer and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the beer has reduced by about half. 

Pour the contents of the pan into the pot with the beans. Stir in the salt and pepper and continue cooking until the beans are completely tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Nutritional Info per serving: Calories 213; Total Fat 3.5g; Saturated Fat 0.5g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 22mg; Carbohydrate 32.8 g; Dietary Fiber 9.8; Sugars 0.5g; Protein 10.7g; Alcohol 2.3g; Vitamin A 11%; Vitamin C 18%; Calcium 6%; Iron 15%

No comments:

Post a Comment