Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans ~ Authentic Mexican charro beans, made quick and easy using canned beans and tomatoes, bacon, and fresh produce.Like everyone else, I have ‘sides’ to my family, my mom’s side and my dad’s side. Then I was even luckier, I had my stepmom’s side and my stepdad’s side as well. Each of these ‘sides’ all come with an incredible amount of food memories.
Food is the one thing that the majority of our family memories are weaved around. I’m lucky in that I have four sides, and when I was really young, there were the extended family ‘sides’; my grandfather’s family and my grandmother’s family, both on my dad’s side. I have no memories of my maternal grandfather’s side, and two memories of my maternal grandmother’s side. None for my step sides, other than my stepmom’s grandmother.
Sadly, I have all of one stand-out food memory associated with my Italian grandmother’s side, and that is her brother, my Uncle Johnny, serving me Chinese Almond Cookies. We’d also get together at her sister’s house occasionally, but those meals are a blank in my mind now, I only remember playing with my younger cousins Brian and Brad. However, my grandfather’s side of the family, that’s a different story altogether.
My grandfather’s family came from Mexico. Until I was maybe 10 or 11, once or twice a year we’d go over to my great-grandma’s place where my entire extended family would gather. My grandfather had 14 siblings, I am ashamed to not remember each name now. Most are gone now, like my grandfather. I’m not even going to attempt to figure out how many people would be at the Adam’s house, but each of those siblings all had kids, who had kids, except for one uncle. It was a true party. And of course, the heart of the party was always the meal.
Not every meal was authentic Mexican food. We had plenty of gatherings where hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled, or fried chicken was served. But every meal, without exception, whether burgers and dogs or tamales and carne asada, there was rice and beans, not refried beans either. A big, bubbling pot of charro beans, a term I only learned about a decade or so ago. Beans this style were just frijoles.
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I’d walk into the kitchen and there would be a gaggle of women; aunts, cousins, my grandma, and once she joined the family, my stepmom, all in that tiny space working on something. The majority of my life I was sent to stir the pot of beans. I doubt they needed to be stirred, but I was given a task, I was being taught to be helpful, and I was included in meal preparation. There were plenty of times I never bothered to go into the kitchen, I would get caught up playing with cousins and just be called when it was time to eat. More often than not, I would go in, just to check on the beans but not stay long. Just imagine the volume in that small kitchen with at least 8, if not 12 women in there, all telling stories and talking over each other, it could get ear splitting.
Back then, not only did I learn to stir a pot of beans, but I learned how to stretch a dollar to feed a crowd. Skills that have come in handy more than once in my adult life, particularly when entertaining. That’s where my local Smith’s Store comes into play. They have awesome food at low prices. I do my best to plan my meals around their sales and promotions to save even more.If you’ve been reading TCS for any time, you know I love food, almost all foods: American, Mexican, Latin of all kinds, Italian, Asian of all kinds, Indian, and so on. I appreciate that my local Smith’s has really made it one-stop shopping when I want to create any cuisine, whether I am looking to make another chicken dinner, or I am digging back into my family roots, like making these authentic Mexican easy charro beans using canned beans.
These easy Charro Beans with canned beans are quite perfect for a random Tuesday night dinner, or any big party (fiesta) you may have on the calendar. Simple and basic ingredients that won’t break our budgets, but so delicious, you’ll swear they came from a restaurant. As a side dish for dinner, this recipe will easily feed 6 to 8 people. If you’re making this recipe as a potluck/sharing dish for a party, it will go a lot further than 6-8 people because if your family gatherings are anything like mine, food will be aplenty and most individuals will take smaller portions of everything in order to eat more of everything.
Also about this recipe for easy charro beans with canned beans, I only used 1 jalapeño, but please, use as many as you’d like. My daughter wouldn’t eat this if it had any more heat than that one pepper provided. My palate really could have used 2 peppers, and my friends said they could have done with 4 or 5 in there. I wrote the recipe for 1-3 peppers, but use your discretion on how many you want. Also, if you’re vegetarian/vegan and want to omit the bacon, go head. There will be a bit less smoky flavor. You could add a bit of smoked paprika or even a tiny bit of liquid smoke. But these charro beans will still be excellent without bacon.
Easy Charro Beans with Canned Beans
- 3-15.5 oz cans Kroger brand Pinto Beans
- 4 oz thick cut bacon , in slices; chopped (about 4 slices)
- 1-14.5 oz can Kroger brand Fire-Roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1-3 jalapeños; seeds and veins removed; minced
- 4-6 garlic cloves; minced/grated
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro; chopped divided equally
- Place a large, heavy bottom pot on the stove, heat over medium heat.
- Chop the bacon, or use kitchen shears to make small pieces and brown in the heated pot for about 3 minutes, just as it begins to render fat and start to cook.
- Add the chopped onion, stir well and often with the bacon until the onions begin to cook and deepen in color, about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and jalapeño, stir constantly so the garlic doesn't burn, but does brown and everything becomes aromatic, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes with juices, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the stuck on bits up.
- Add the beans and liquid, half of the chopped cilantro, black pepper, and bay leaf (s).
- Bring to a high simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once bubbling nicely, reduce the heat to low, taste for seasoning, if needed, add salt to taste, a bit at time.
- Cover, and keep on warm for 20 minutes, giving all the flavors time to come together.
- When ready to serve, garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro.
Making this authentic Mexican easy charro beans with canned beans instead of dried beans was to speed up the process. However, Smith’s has dried pintos available and by all means, soak, boil, and then prepare this recipe. I opted for convenience and I love the liquid that comes with the canned beans when making this recipe. Plus, while I value the moments I experienced stirring the big pot of frijoles as kid in my great-grandmother’s kitchen, I now value the time spent with friends and family enjoying the frijoles. So whichever way you go, canned or dried beans, Smith’s has you covered. To find your local store, click here.I stopped by the floral department for some flowers to just perk up my place. I was leaning towards tulips or a nice spring bouquet, but Elizabeth spotted these brightly-hued daisies and HAD to have them. They are bright and cheerful, so that’s what we picked up. They are so fun and honestly match our personality of loud and colorful.
My local Smith’s helped me get my meal together, to help me create the moments that matter most to me. With low prices and convenience, how might they help you create the moments that matter most to you?