Homemade, baked beans are totally underrated in my book. When I was kid, I can recall one of my sweet aunts (nope, not naming names here) bringing a casserole dish of Boston-style baked beans, with lines of bacon laying across the top to each and every family barbecue. It was a simple, dump and bake kind of recipe. While I am secretly over here praying my aunt never reads this column, I really do think if time isn’t of the essence, beans deserve a little better than that. Now, I know starting a pot of beans at home requires a little planning ahead, but really, other than that, there’s not much to it. Canned beans don’t hold a candle to homemade beans…well, homemade beans done right. Which, no worries over here on our end, because I have got that all taken care for us.
When I kicked off the recipe testing for homemade pinto beans, I started off using the crockpot, as crockpot recipes are often requested from my TAK friends. However, I just can’t help myself from going back to the good ol’ Dutch oven every time. It’s like the bad boyfriend I just can’t get over. Except, it’s not a bad boyfriend at all. It’s actually totally marriage material. Yup, I love the Dutch oven and I can’t seem to stay away from it. It gives me the ability to move from stovetop to oven, only dirtying up one pot; allows me to brown meats and saute veggies, building flavor on top of flavor.
It even helps me to keep my food at a nice warm, serving temperature because of its heavy duty, cast iron construction. Plus, ya know, it’s pretty, and I just love a good pop of color from that shiny enamel coating. I start by searing little cubes of bacon, then throw in some onion and jalapenos and let that hang around for a while. Add in the pintos, a pretty serious amount of chili powder and we are well on our way to the best pot of charro beans you ever laid your pretty little tastebuds on. I can boast all day long about this recipe being easy and tasty, however, I am going to have to refrain from using any verbiage along the lines of “quick,” because homemade beans do indeed take some time.
They were meant for slow-cooking on the weekend or a day that you’ve got a little time kill…and people to feed. People to feed because one little ol’ pot of beans goes a long, long way. However, if you do end up with some leftovers, grab yourself a bag of your favorite dipping chips, because you’re snack time cravings are about to be fulfilled. Leftover charro beans make for a glorious homemade bean dip.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 jalapenos seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 1/2 cups water separated
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced for garnish (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 325°.
The night before you intend to cook the beans, sort through beans and discard of any rocks or pebble fragments, rinse and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with water by 2-3 inches and allow to soak overnight.
Strain the beans, rinse and set aside until ready to use. Have ready a plate lined with paper towels. Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat and the cubes of bacon. Saute for 8-10 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on the paper towels to absorb any excess grease. Add the onions and jalapeños and sauté 5-7 minutes, or until softened. Add the rinsed beans, chili powder, salt and pepper, and cover with 4 cups of water. Add the bacon back into the Dutch oven, stir, cover with lid and transfer to the oven.
Bake for 2 hours, covered. Remove lid, add 1 1/2 cup of water to the beans, stir and bake for 1 hour more, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven, stir in sliced jalapeño (if desired), serve and enjoy.
Would pair well with:
Got leftovers? Make bean dip!
- 2 cups leftover Mexican Charro Beans
- 1 ounce water
- 2 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños
In a food processor, combine leftover beans and water. Process until smooth. Stir in chopped jalapenos.
Makes about 2 cups.