Pinto beans are one of the main staple foods here in New Mexico. You will find beans on most tables multiple times a week. It can be a side dish but for a lot of folks, it’s the main meal with a flour tortilla on the side. In all the years we lived in Kansas it was quite different going out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. You would find refried beans sometimes but black beans were often served as a side . I grew to love black beans but since we’ve been back I find myself reacquainted with the pinto’s of my childhood. Every time we get takeout from our favorite restaurants I always ask for extra beans, no rice. Joe is the opposite, wouldn’t touch a bean if his life, well you get the picture, he doesn’t like beans. So every now and then I will make myself a little pot of beans and spice them up with onion and chiles, sometimes bacon, and sometimes add a little chopped cilantro or grated cheese. My favorite is still my Mom’s Charro Beans. Her recipe is my guide with the substitution of roasted red chiles for green and red chile jerky for bacon. I had no idea how jerky might taste in a pot of beans, but to my surprise it turned out really really good! About half of the jerky is put in the pot along with the beans while saving a few little bits to go on top for crunch. It’s a delicious blend of flavors and texture. Here in NM you can find locally made jerky on almost every corner of the state. There are so many jerky flavors that might taste good in a pot of beans but red chile is a natural choice!
This recipe is just for me which make about 3 small side servings. You may want to double or triple if you are feeding more. You’ll need 1 can or about 2 cups of cooked pinto beans, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 – 3 tablespoons chopped roasted red chile, chicken stock, epizote, 1 ounce of red chile jerky or 2 strips and salt to taste. I found the salt unnecessary because of the salt in the canned beans, jerky and chicken stock.
I have a small 1.8 quart cast iron dutch oven that is perfect for making small meals. I’ve also made beans in a skillet as well, it’s just whatever you have to work with. I always keep my leftover bacon grease and I added a tablespoon to the pot and melted it over medium high heat. You can substitute olive oil if you don’t have bacon grease.
Bring the beans to a simmer and use a potato masher to mash a few of the beans which will release starch and thicken the beans. Add about half of the chopped jerky bits to the beans and stir. The jerky will absorb the liquid and soften.
Order Vigil’s Beef Jerky
Pinto Beans with Roasted Red Chile and Jerky
1 (15 ounce) can Pinto Beans, or about 2 cups of cooked beans
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons Roasted Red Chile, chopped
1/2 cup Chicken Stock, I used Better than Bouillon Chicken Base reconstituted in water
1 ounce Red Chile Jerky, chopped into bite sized bits
Salt to taste
Heat a small dutch oven or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of bacon grease or olive oil to the pot to heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until it become soft and translucent. Add the roasted red chile and epizote to the pot and stir to combine. Add the beans with their liquid along with the chicken stock. Bring the beans to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer. Use a potato masher to mash a few of the beans which will release starch and thicken the liquid. Sprinkle half of the chopped jerky bits and any leftover spices into the beans and allow to absorb the liquid and soften. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with remaining bits of jerky over top if desired.
Makes 2 – 3 servings.