BEANS WITH BEEF, CHIPOTLES, AND EPAZOTE : Frijoles Charros
The charro (cowboy) lifestyle is alive and well in the beautiful mountains of northern Mexico. Here cooking often revolves around a big pot and a wood-fired cook box, where frijoles cook slowly overnight while the herd dozes under the stars. Frijoles charros always start with big handfuls of chipotles and epazote, and then, to paraphrase one cook, “you add whatever you got,” whether it’s chunks of beef, pigs’ feet and skin, vegetables, or tomatoes. When cooked, the frijoles should be brothy but full of beans and pieces of meat. Serve with flour tortillas and, if you like, a spoonful of Salsa Mexicana.
2½ cups dried bayo, pinto, pink, or flor de mayo beans (about 1 pound), rinsed and picked over 1 tablespoon fresh lard or vegetable oil 1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into ½-inch pieces 1 smoked pork hock or pig’s foot, split 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo 1 white onion, diced 4 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice 2 jalapeño chiles, halved lengthwise 6 cloves garlic, sliced 10 sprigs fresh epazote, or 3 tablespoons dried epazote 2 teaspoons kosher salt 8 cups water