You will find frijoles charros all over Mexico, it is named after the traditional Mexican horsemen, the charros. At the core of this dish are beans stewed with garlic and onions. This easy slow cooker recipe was adapted from Steve Sando’s cookbook Supper at Rancho Gordo. Steve is the founder and owner of Rancho Gordo, a Napa based heirloom bean company.
1 pound Rancho Gordo Ojo de Cabra heirloom beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked for 4-6 hours
1 head garlic
1/2 white onion
1 small piece of Chipotle chile (ca. 1 inch x 2 inches)
1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo dried Mexican oregano, coarsely ground
3 tablespoons Scrumptious Pantry Hot Sauce Chiltepin
2 fresh Jalapeno chiles, sliced and briefly pan fried
1 cup finely diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onion, white and tender green parts
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese, or to taste
(1) Drain the beans and rinse under cold running water for a few seconds. Set aside.
(2) Leaving the papery white skin of the garlic head intact, slice off the pointed top of the head, exposing the flesh and keeping the cloves attached at the stem end. Be sure to clean the stem of any debris. Cut the onion half lengthwise into slices, stopped short of the stem end so the slices remain attached. Again, clean the stem of any debris.
(3) In a stockpot bring the beans – covered in water – to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker, combining the beans, garlic, onion, dried chipotle, a tablespoon of salt, and enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Cover, set the slow cooker on low and cook until the beans are tender and creamy when pressed with a wooden spoon, about 7 hours. If you do not use a slow cooker, cook over low heat on the stove. (Did you learn not to salt the beans at the beginning of the cooking process? I did, so initially I was confused over this suggestion, but then I did some internet research and realized that the rule I was cooking by has been revised!)
(4) Remove and discard the onion half. Remove the garlic head and let cool just until it can be handled. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves from their skins onto a cutting board and smash them with the back of a spoon or knife, reserving about one-fourth of the garlic pulp for this recipe. Chop the pulp and return it to the beans. (The remaining garlic pulp can be reserved for another use; store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
(5) Add the oregano and hot sauce and stir well. Transfer the beans to a warmed serving bowl or individual bowls and garnish with the fresh chiles, tomatoes, green onions, and queso fresco. Serve immediately.