I will fess up from the get-go – pinto beans and I have not been friends. I grew up on the black beans that were familiar to my Yucatecan parents and well…. they don’t really eat pinto beans or flour tortillas or enchiladas or that rice with little carrots and peas in it. In my house, we grew up eating black beans, corn tortillas, lots of caldos (hence my love of thin, broth-filled soups) , potajes and saffron rice. Mmm. My mouth gets watery just thinking about it.
I’d cook a pot of pinto beans every now and then to change things up but would inevitably end up disappointed by the amount of work required to get the little suckers to taste good. Why bother when a few sprigs of epazote and salt are all that’s required to make a pot of black beans amazing?
Well folks, I may have finally come around. My black beans are still the household staple, but there may be room for the little brown guys after all.
Vegetarian Frijoles Charros
(Serves 2-3, Vegan)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small tomato chopped
1/4 cup sweet onions, finely chopped
1 pint whole pinto beans
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
Salt and pepper to taste
- Warm oil in skillet over medium heat.
- Add chopped tomatoes and onions and sauté until onion starts to soften.
- Add the beans and their broth* to the skillet and warm through.
- Add spices, liquid smoke and salt to taste.
- Cook until broth reduces and thickens slightly.
* Drain and rinse your beans if canned and add about a ¼ cup of veggie broth. Water does just fine in a pinch.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that my veggie frijoles charros are authentic, but they come pretty darned close to the lard-ridden pots that are simmered for hours traditionally. I’ve written the recipe for a small portion that would be perfect to serve with plates of migas in the morning or for a large batch of nachos. They also make an excellent lunch all on their own.