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Frijoles a la Charra
Submitted by Katy

Frijoles a la charra

Mexican pinto bean soup


1 lb dried pinto beans
2 smoked ham hocks
4 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, halved & seeded*
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained (or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes)
1 tomatillo, chopped
1 cup chicken stock or broth
4-6 slices bacon cut into 1-inch pieces, optional
1/2 cup chorizo, casing removed and crumbled, optional
salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Sort and rinse the dried pinto beans. Cover with 6-8 cups fresh water (or enough to cover by one inch) and soak overnight.

Drain the beans. Place in a large pot and add enough fresh water just to cover. Bring to a boil. Add the smoked ham hocks and whole garlic cloves. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Remove the garlic; mash or mince the garlic and return it to the beans. Add the onion, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, tomatillo, and chicken broth and simmer for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally and check to make sure there's enough water.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until almost crisp. Add the chorizo and cook until done, stirring frequently. Add the mixture to the fully cooked beans. Taste and add salt if necessary. When ready to serve, top with the freshly chopped cilantro.

*You can also leave the seeds and veins in the jalapenos, and add them to the beans sliced ("nacho style"). I left them halved and removed the veins and seeds to cut back on the spiciness a bit, and so I could pick the peppers out easily before serving to the kids. You can add more jalapenos to suit your taste if desired. (Some freshly chopped jalapenos added in at the end would make for a nice kick too!).

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