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Cowboy Beans is a recipe that I've come up with that has quickly become my favorite way prepare beans.  They will enhance almost any  meal, and make a quick, nutritious lunch when spooned on a corn tortilla.

Special tools:  Cast iron pot; I use an 8-quart pot, blender, microwave oven, potato masher
Preparation time:  About 15 minutes, plus 20 minutes soaking time for the chilies
Cooking time:  30 minutes or longer, depending on cooking temperature
Yield:  6 generous servings, or 8 regular servings

1 pot of Frijoles de Olla, or two, 30-oz cans of canned pinto beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz bacon, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, diced, seeded, stemmed; veins removed
1 large red onion, minced, feel freee to subsitute any variety
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 to 6 dried Anaheim chili peppers (depending on how hot you like your beans,) seeded, stemmed; veins removed 
2 to 4 dried chipotle peppers:  Note:  In the U.S., dried chipotle peppers can be hard to find; substitute with 1
teaspoon canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, more if you like your beans hot
1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke 
1 cup
chicken stock
Masa Harina, optional, if needed to thicken 

Shred dried chilis into small pieces.  Add shredded chilis into chicken stock, heat in microwave until hot, set aside to soak for 20 minutes.

While chilis are soaking, cut bacon, including fat, into tiny pieces and brown in pot until limp.  Remove and set aside.

Dice the garlic, jalapeno peppers and onion.  Add to the bowl that contains the bacon.  Add cumin, oregano, and the olive oil.

Whirl the dried chipotle peppers and chicken stock in a blender until the chilis are liquefied.  Remove from blender and add the liquid smoke.

In the pot, mash about 1/4 of the beans and add the rest of the beans.  If you're using canned beans, add the liquid.  Add the chicken stock mixture to the pot.  Heat beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Add all ingredients from previous steps to the beans.  Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Note:  If mixture is too "runny," add 1 tablespoon of masa harina to thicken.

For a very different flavor, beef chorizo, sausage, linguica, etc. can be substituted for the bacon.  With that said, I prefer bacon, as it adds a nice, smoky flavor to the beans.  I have even thrown in smoked beef and beef scraps, after I've smoked some beef on my smoker.  Every time I make these beans, they come out a little different.  Feel free to substitute ingredients as you choose, as you can't go wrong with these beans.

If you don't like heat, go easy on the dried chilis.  I prefer to use dried chipotle peppers, as I have a friend who lives near Mexico where the peppers are readily available.  However, dried Anaheim or New Mexico peppers will work just as well; they just won't be as "smoky."

I add the diced onion and jalapeno peppers into the pot after the mixture is heated, as I like them to have a bit of "crunch" left in them.

Cooking time is not critical, as long as there's sufficient liquid and the pot is stirred often.  In Mexico, the attitude for these beans is No hay una cosa como un fuego baja, which translates "there is no such thing like a low fire."


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