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Go Home Charros, You're Drunk!

I love me some Mexican style, soupy beans but I can never decide between Charros (named after the Mexican cowboys of Norther Mexico) and Frijoles Borrachos (literally translates to drunken beans), which are almost the same thing except for the addition of beer. Both versions are also wildly popular in Texas and New Mexico and because I can't choose which dish I like better I just mashed both recipes together to come up with this.

I am not sure that this is 100% authentic and I know that you can ask ten Mexican grandmas for their recipe and you will get ten different answers so I still sleep well at night. You can serve these as a side dish, over rice for dinner, with fried eggs for the best hangover breakfast you will ever have or add more chicken stock and turn them into soup.

I don't make these all that often because if done on the stove top, this dish takes hours to cook if you are using dried beans but this coming Saturday, I am cooking up a Mexican Feast at The Kingston Social for our inaugural Supper Club and so a big pot of spicy beans had to happen. As fate would have it, someone online said that they just made charros in their pressure cooker with great results and that inspired me to do the same, get out my notebook and do some adapting.

If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can follow all of the directions right up until I tell you to close the lid and bring the pot up to pressure and just simmer it away for a couple of hours, which also results in amazing beans but you will have to keep an eye on it and add liquid from time to time. In a pressure cooker, there is no evaporation so you use less liquid which means less beer in the beans and more in my frosty mug!

Drunken Charros

serves 10-12 as a side dish

1 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
1/2 lb double smoked bacon
1/2 lb Mexican Chorizo (raw, Mexican chorizo sausage, not the dried Spanish chorizo)
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 large jalapeños , seeded and finely chopped (more to taste if you want it really spicy)
2 tbls cumin
1 tbls Mexican oregano
1 tbls crushed epazote
2 bay leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
2 canned chipotle chilis in adobo, minced
2 cups Mexican beer like Dos Equis or another lager
3 cups chicken stock
1 can rotel (if you can't get rotel - not available in Canada) use fire roasted tomatoes and about 1/4 cup of pico de gallo like Goya)

Hit sauté on your pressure cooker and when the pan is hot, throw in the bacon and fry until it starts to brown. At that point, remove the chorizo meat from the casing and add that in. Continue to fry a few more minutes until the meat is cooked and then add in the onion. Saute for another 5 minutes until the onion is softened, add in the jalapeños, garlic, cumin, oregano, epazote and cook for one more minute. Now add in the pinto beans, bay leaves, salt, chipotle chilis, beer, chicken stock and rotel and give it all a good stir.

Close up the lid and hit 45 minutes on manual at high pressure. When the time is up, let it NPR (at least ten minutes and then be careful releasing the steam because beans can cause a mess if you release the pressure too soon). Check your beans and if they are not really soft, close it back up and program it for another five minutes, NPR for ten minutes and check again and continue to cook in five minute increments until the beans are nice and soft.

** adding tomatoes to uncooked beans extends their cook time but I feel that the results of cooking WITH the tomatoes vs cooking in less time but adding the tomatoes after the beans are cooked is worth the extra time under pressure. If you want them to cook faster, leave the tomatoes out, cook for 25 minutes at High Pressure, NPR for ten minutes and if the beans are done to your liking, add in the rotel/tomatoes at that time and let simmer for a few minutes with the tomatoes.

When they are fully cooked to your liking, hit saute and simmer the beans for another five minutes or so. To serve, scatter the top with freshly chopped cilantro

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