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Frijoles a la Charra


  • 3/4 pound dried pinto beans
  • 3 quarts water, divided
  • 3/8 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin (cominos) and chili powder
  • 3 /4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes


Makes about 1/2 gallon.. Soak beans in 2 quarts water 8 hours. Drain and set aside. In a 1-gallon heavy pot, cook bacon until well-done. Do not undercook or it will look raw in finished product. Add garlic, 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and onion to hot bacon and cook until onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. Add beans, cumin and chili powder. Stir and add remaining 1 quart water. Turn heat to medium-low. Stir in salt. Cook beans slowly until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Stir constantly to avoid burning the bottom. Stir in tomatoes and remaining cilantro and heat through. Serve in bowls. Beans may be cooled to below 40 degrees, then reheated when ready to serve.

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