February 11, 2023
One of my favorite football spreads is a baked potato bar. In years past I have also made my version of plenty of classic game day bites like hot dogs, wings, mac and cheese, pork chili, potato chips, and of course, all kinds of dips. Don’t forget to pick up supplies for a signature cocktail.
This year I’ll be whipping up my version of Beans Charro for the big game. A common staple in many Mexican home kitchens, these are in regular rotation in our home when I want to step up a basic bean dish. Not being the best speller in the world I just naturally figured these fancy-uped beans were called “Charo”—after the Latin singer (enter blushing emoji here). What can I say, except I was born in the 70s, and I watched a lot of Love Boat. Once I realized my mistake, I started calling my version “Cuchi Cuchi” Beans.
These beans are often made with a combination of meats like pork, hot dogs, and sausages. For this recipe, I simply add chorizo, which adds incredible flavor, but for vegetarians, feel free to omit it altogether—the beans are delicious on their own or topped with the chunky pico de Gallo.
Random garden notes: Tomato season will be here quicker than you think. If you are going to start from seed, now is the time to get planting. If you’re going to wait for seedlings, try to shoot for mid march planting. I have a few varieties I will try in my new greenhouse. Fresno chile peppers are my absolute favorite because they are so flavorful and have significant heat. They are similar in size and texture to a jalapeño but have a much more intense flavor. Plus, they are super easy to grow and not so easy to track down at the grocery store, which makes them especially worthy of space in your garden or in a pot (see photo).
5 cups prepared beans
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for finishing
1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
2 large carrots, cut into small dice
2 large celery stalks, cut into small dice
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground in a mortar and pestle
½ cup raw chorizo (optional)
¼ cup dry white wine
Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, carrots, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and chili flakes. Sauté on medium heat until the onions are light golden brown for at least 20 minutes (the longer you cook this mixture the more flavor it gives to the beans–this is good to know especially if you are omitting the chorizo from the recipe). Now add the minced garlic and cumin; cook a few more minutes–your kitchen will smell amazing. Lastly, add the chorizo (if using) and stir until completely cooked, about 8 minutes. Finish with the white wine and stir until the wine evaporates.
Remove 1 cup of bean cooking liquid and set aside. Add the veggie-chorizo mixture to the pot of beans and bring to a boil. Add reserved cooking liquid as necessary to moisten the beans.
Ladle beans into small bowls. Garnish with a good drizzle of olive oil, top with pico de gallo or Mexican cheese, if desired. Serve warm.