Charro Beans are pinto beans on steroids. It's a spicy and hearty dish that sings with the addition of leftover Easter ham, tomato, onion, garlic and jalapenos. Anytime I spy this side at a Mexican restaurant I get it. And it's simple to make with easily attainable budget ingredients.
Beans are the cheapest protein and the other ingredients cost below, or near, a dollar a pound. And this side dish becomes an entree when you serve it over a bowl of rice.You can make a large pot of pinto beans if you have the time, or just grab a 15 ounce can, and with a few flavorful additions, it's a winner of a dish.
- 1 15-oz. can of pinto beans. Double amount of ingredients below if you use a larger can.
- 1 whole tomato - chopped
- 1 ham steak - leftover Easter ham, or a six-oz. steak. Cut into medium/large chunks.
- 1-2 whole jalapenos per serving - from can, jar or fresh. I like to use whole jalapenos - believe it or not, they are less spicy than chopped (in which seeds are exposed). Use less if chopped.1/2 onion - chopped1 teaspoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.Salt and pepper to taste.1 tsp. oil, or ham fat
Heat oil, or ham fat, in a pot. Add chopped onion and garlic. Over medium heat, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add a can of beans, along with the liquid, and half of the chopped tomato (save the other half for the end), to the pot. Add ham and a couple of whole jalapenos (if you can't take the heat it is okay to leave out jalapeno and add it to one bowl at a time). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. Just before serving add the other half of the chopped tomato. Serve over rice, as a side, or on its own.
If you are cooking a whole pot of beans, then add four times my ingredient list, after beans are done. Cook an extra 15 minutes until ham, tomato and jalapeno is heated through. Add some extra fresh chopped tomato just before serving. I normally cook beans with onion and garlic, so the dish has plenty already.