I'm a big fan of PBS's Create TV and one of my favorite shows is Christopher Kimball's Milk Street. On this show, he and his team take what worked well in America's Test Kitchen but give in a more global perspective.
One of these global recipes was what Chris claims are the Best Beans in the World. That's quite the claim! They are Mexican Stewed Beans and appear to be close to my personal favorite charro beans. Being the bean fan that I am, I had to give them a try.
These beans did not disappoint. The key is a lot fresh onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro that make it so I don't need as many other spices and flavorings in my own Charro Beans Recipe.
There are three parts to these world's best beans - Mexican Stewed Beans, Shredded Pork and Pork Broth, and Salsa Fresca. I just cooked the Mexican Stewed Beans recipe and used bacon in place of the lard and shredded pork.
Ingredients for Beans:
- 1 pound dried cranberry beans or Adzuki beans (pinto beans would work too)
- 6 strips of bacon diced (the real recipe calls for 2 tbsp lard or oil)
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 bunch of cilantro with stems finely chopped and tops roughly chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth, pork broth, or water
- 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt (plus additional 1.5 tsp if using water for broth)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp lard, bacon fat, or oil
- 1 large white onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 pounds tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 jalapenos diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Presoak beans overnight in 8 cups water and 2 tbsp salt. Drain when ready.
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is released. Add the onions with 1/2 tsp salt and cook until bacon is fully cooked and onions begin to brown.
- Add the garlic, pepper, and cilantro stems and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the beans and broth and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 1 hour until beans are tender.
- Remove the beans from heat for 30 minutes which will allow the liquid to thicken slightly.
- Meanwhile, make the sofrito by heating the oil in a skillet.
- Add onions and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions caramelize.
- Add the garlic and pepper and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and jalapenos and cook for 10-15 minutes. The tomatoes will release their juices and then you want those juices to evaporate. The sofrito will make a sizzle sound at this point.
- Add the sofrito to the beans and return the pot to medium heat and cook for 5 minutes until heated through.
- Taste for salt and pepper then stir in the cilantro tops.