Dinner Tonight: Frijoles \u00e0 la Charra

[Nick Kindelsperger]

Some weeks I can do no wrong in the kitchen while other times, I look back and wonder what the hell happened. I had no less than three potential dinners crash and burn this week. They were so bad, I couldn't even stomach them let alone write about them. Feeling beat down and depressed, all I wanted was comfort food, something that could redeem my spirits after so many failed meals.

I'm a real sucker for a humble plate of rice and beans. From gallo pinto to Cuban black beans and rice, the simple combination makes for a surprisingly satisfying dinner. I made a big batch of pinto beans earlier this week and with half the pot left, I came across this recipe from Homesick Texan.

The real find here is the tomato and chili mixture, combining a fresh heat from the jalapenos and a smoky complex background from the chipotles. The bacon adds a hit of pork and the tomatoes tie everything together. I paired the beans with some simple white rice. Everything, once again, felt right with the world.

Frijoles a la Charra

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a Chicago-based freelance writer and a co-founder of The Paupered Chef.

Dinner Tonight: Frijoles à la Charra

About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: What to Eat and Drink on Cinco de Mayo


  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 ounces diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 2 jalapenos, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Cooked white rice


  1. 1

    Toss the bacon in a skillet set over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is crisp. Then dump in the tomatoes, jalapenos, chipotles, and cilantro to the skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. 2

    Turn off the heat and let the skillet cool for a minute. Then add to a food processor or blender and puree.

  3. 3

    Add the beans to a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then pour in the tomato mixture. Cook for 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Serve beans with white rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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