Saturday, April 16, 2011

Forget you, Chevy's! I'll make my own beans!

Disclaimer: Look. I know I try to write about the finer aspects of food around here. And when it comes to Mexican food, I have often crowed about the virtues of the extremely authentic Mexican food experiences available. This post is not about that. I freely confess that, sometimes, I want a particularly un-authentic experience and for sit-down dining, when it comes to Mexican, nothing gets much more un-authentic than Chevy's. At least not since Chi Chi's closed. Remember that??? I do! Anyway, there is nothing wrong with un-authentic, if that is what you are looking for.

So, I went to Chev's a little while back and when ordering my entree was extremely surprised to learn that the charros beans are no longer available. What the fork? How does that work? For those of you lacking the foggiest what I am talking about, charros beans were the frijoles that were not refritos. They looked like, well, beans In a spicy sauce. And now they are gone.

So, like Cee Lo Green might say, fork you and your no cans menu-hoo-hoo. Make your own beans. So, with props to Rick Bayless and Alton Brown, here is a method for making your own very tasty beans at home.

Pay attention.

Get yourself about 4 slices of nice, thick smoky bacon. Cut it into small, but roughly cut pieces and cook it in a suacepan, maybe 3 or 4 quart, over medium heat. Let it get crisp and render that fat out. (No, don't drain the damned fat. The beans soak it up and that's part of what makes this so good.) Pull the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate. Don't eat it all while continuing the recipe. Now, at this point, you got options. You could saute about a cup of diced onion in there until translucent and then finely chop a couple of cloves of garlic and saute that for a minute. Then you add about a half a can of fire roasted tomatoes and a half a beer. Or, you could totally cheat and add the beer and about 7-8 ounces of salsa. (Know what salsa is? Chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic with tomatoes. Duh. Let David Pace do the chopping. Completely fair.)

Oh, that beer? Dos Equis Amber works great, but so does Corona, Tecate, and Miller High Life. B-double "E"-R. It all works.

Simmer that stuff. Drain a couple of cans of pinto beans. Dump them in, toss the bacon back in and simmer the whole shebang on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Let them thicken up a bit.

If you didn't use the salsa, chop up a few seeded pickled jalapenos and put them in there. Salt to taste. Finish them with a handful of chopped cilantro-- about a half cup.

Knock yourself out. These are good.


*Just Fran* said...

I haven't been to Chevy's in forever, but I always ordered those beans instead of the usual refried. Thanks for the heads-up and the super simple recipe.

Anonymous said...

Chevy's History lesson...

I worked for Chevy's in the late
80's and again in 2005.

Chevy's was started by Scooter Simmons and his father of Pier 60 fame in San Francisco. Also aboard was Fred Parkin of Victoria Station. Scooter took a long trip to mexico and toured the real Mexico and developed the recipes for Chevy's. ( could not do that today would get shot)He names the entrees after the various what we would call counties of Mexico. The chicken they use is hand picked off the cooked chicken, the red sauce is made from scratch from peppers, the tamale meat is made fro scratch as is the masa to roll the tamale in.and if you want to know how to make those frijoles just let me know

The Secret Fork said...

Do tell! Do tell!

Citizen said...

I just found your blog. I was wondering if you had a chance to check out the bistro at Pomegranet Market? It's been open since December last year. I would be highly interested in your view of the food there.