Frijoles Charros or Cowboy Beans in English are one of my favorites. It`s a traditional Mexican dish named after the Mexican horsemen or “charros“. Typically made with pinto beans stewed with onion, garlic, tomato, chiles & bacon or meat of some kind(usually pork) it`s filling, hearty & just out right delectable! You`ll often find a bowl comes as a 1st course at many Mexican steak houses & is really common to have at any neighborhood carne asada. Today this simple man`s plan to heathier eating is a take on this classic in the form of Lentils Cowboy Style/Lentejas Charros & I have to say I might like this version even more than the original. I used bacon, Mexican chorizo & Spanish chorizo (left over from my Weeknight Spanish Chicken Chorizo & Potato Bake) in this recipe but have seen it made with all varieties of meat from sliced hot dogs to carnitas. As with all recipes tweak it to your own liking or what you have on hand. Like spice, add more chile`s or hot sauce, want less use less. It`s all up to you.
Here`s what you`ll need for your Lentils Cowboy Style/Lentejas Charros:
Lentils- 2 cups dried
Garlic-2-3 cloves smashed
Bacon- 8oz chopped, browned & drained
Mexican Chorizo- 10 oz browned & drained
Spanish Chorizo- 8oz sliced
Serrano Chiles- 2-3 deseeded & finely chopped
Tomato-2 cups chopped
Hot Sauce- a few shakes (optional)
Cilantro- To garnish
Salt to tasteA peek at the stars of the show.Roughly chop about 1/3 of the onion & smash the garlic. Nothing fancy going on here.Add the water, lentils, chopped onion & garlic to a large stock pot over high heat. Bring to a boil & reduce heat to a simmer giving a quick stir. These are going to cook for 20-30 minutes.While your lentils are simmering away to tenderness prep the rest of the ingredients. As I said I`m using a mixture of bacon, Mexican chorizo & Spanish chorizo but the balls in your court here. Chopped ham works beautifully as does any type of sausage, carnitas, hot dogs etc. I do like to use something that`s been smoked as it lends another layer of flavoring but again, your call.Dice the remaining onion as well as the chile`s. If you`re leaning towards the spicier side leave the seeds & veins of the peppers. For less heat remove them. Chop your tomatoes.In a skillet over medium high heat brown the chopped bacon. Remove to paper towels to drain & discard the grease.To the same pan add the Mexican chorizo to brown, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula. Again, remove to paper towels to drain discarding all but about a tablespoon of the rendered grease.Bacon & Mexican chorizo cooked & draining. Notice we did not brown the Spanish chorizo as it`s already fully cooked. We`ll just add this in sliced.Into the skillet go the diced onions over medium high heat. Stir & cook 4-5 minutes until they`re soft & translucent.Now add the diced peppers & tomatoes. Cook stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes until the tomatoes soften & release their juices.To the onion tomato mixture add the bacon & both chorizo`s.Stir well to combine & cook 2-3 minutes longer.The lentils are cooked & ready to proceed.To the lentils add the contents of the skillet. If using hot sauce add it in now or serve as a condiment on the table.Stir well & return the pot to a simmer. Cook another 15 minutes or so to let the flavors combine. By the way, this is a dish that`s even better the next day. It also freezes really well so feel free to double the batch for easy heat & eat meals. Check for seasoning & adjust to taste. That`s all there is to it. You`re ready to serve.Garnish with a little cilantro & crack a beer. Today I served this with tostado`s but tortillas or a good crusty bread are perfect as well.
Enjoy your Lentils Cowboy Style/Lentejas Charros!!