These Charro Bean Tostadas have been my lunch for the past four days. And I'm still not tired of them 🙂
Keep some Charro Beans in the fridge and meals like this will come together in a matter of minutes. And they taste better than all the takeout options near me. And they are significantly cheaper.
Sound too good to be true?!
How To Make Charro Bean Tostadas
The key, of course, is to make a big batch of Charro Beans. It's super easy and these are some of the most satisfying frijoles you'll ever taste.
I use bacon to create their unique heartiness, but you're also welcome to add in some chorizo or ham if that's what you have available.
Start by roasting 4-5 plum tomatoes in the oven at 400F.
Then chop up 1/2 lb. of bacon and cook it in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
If you find that it's difficult to cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces then it's time to sharpen your knife! You could also put the bacon in the freezer for a few minutes -- this will solidify it and make it easier to chop.
Once the bacon is starting to brown you can consider draining off some of the fat, but I usually leave it all in. That will officially make them Charro Beans 🙂
Finely chop 1/2 onion and add it to the bacon, cooking until softened.
Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook briefly, 30-60 seconds.
Then we'll add the remaining ingredients to the pan:
the roasted tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups stock (or water)
3 minced chipotles in adobo
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
Tomatoes typically need 20-30 minutes to full roast, but I usually just grab the tomatoes from the oven when I need them and then give them a rough chop in the pan.
Bring this mixture up to a simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes, covered.
And then say hello to your Charro Beans!
They're already loaded with flavor but be sure to give a final taste for seasoning as beans are hypersensitive to salt. I added another generous pinch after the simmer, so that is a heaping teaspoon total for this batch, but keep in mind that the exact salt level level will depend on which beans and stock you're using.
And yes, using 3 chipotles will give your Charro Beans some kick! If you want a milder batch consider starting with only a single chipotle. Note: I usually de-seed the chipotles as I feel like the seeds tend to harden over time, but you can consider this optional. More info on working with chipotles.
Blending some of the beans into a puree works great for Tostadas so let's do that. I usually blend about half of the pot and leave the other half as is.
Simply add half of the beans to a blender along with a few spoonfuls of broth. Combine well. If the mixture isn't combining readily just add a few more splashes of the broth.
This blended Charro Bean awesomeness can be used in so many ways -- it's exploding with flavor so feel free to get creative with it!
I usually spread in on a warm, crispy Tostada:
Then add some Pickled Jalapenos:
And top with:
Queso Fresco What is Queso Fresco?
freshly chopped cilantro
a squeeze of lime
And it's one of the simplest, most satisfying meals that you'll come across.
Don't sweat it if you don't have Tostada shells on hand as they are super easy to make from plain ol' corn tortillas.
Simply add six corn tortillas to a baking sheet and spread a thin layer of oil on both sides of the tortillas. I usually just drizzle on some oil with a spoon and spread it around with my fingers. Give these tortillas 4 minutes per side in the oven (400F) and say hello to your warm, crispy Tostada shells!
If you bake your own Tostadas keep in mind that it will always work best with thinner tortillas. More info on baking your own tostada shells.
And don't forget that you can get creative with the toppings!
I always keep some of these Pickled Jalapenos in the fridge and put them on just about everything, but they aren't crucial for this recipe. The Charro Bean puree is already loaded with flavor and everything else is just a bonus, so feel free to start with a simple version to see how your palate reacts.
Okay, I hope you try out these Charro Bean Tostadas!
It's such a simple, satisfying meal and I come back to it on a regular basis. Let me know if you have any questions about it. Here are some links for the fixings I used:
Charro Bean Tostadas
- 2 cans pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1/2 lb. bacon
- 4-5 plum tomatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 3 chipotles in adobo
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups stock (or water)
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
For the Tostadas:
- 6-8 tostada shells
- Queso Fresco
- Pickled Jalapenos
- freshly chopped cilantro
- squeeze of lime
- Start by rinsing the tomatoes and then roast them in the oven (400F) for 20 minutes or until you need them. I usually de-stem the tomatoes knowing that any juices leftover in the roasting pan will be used as well.
- Chop up the bacon into bite-sized pieces. Cook the bacon in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat until lightly browned. You can optionally drain off some bacon fat but I like to leave it in. Note: putting the bacon in the freezer for a few minutes can make it easier to chop up.
- Finely chop 1/2 onion and add it the bacon. I usually reduce heat to medium after the bacon is cooked. Let the onion cook for a few minutes and then add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook briefly, 30-60 seconds.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pan: the roasted tomatoes, 2 cans pinto beans (drained and rinsed), 3 minced chipotles in adobo, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and 2 cups of stock (or water). Combine well and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced down a bit. Note: I usually just plop the roasted tomatoes in the pan directly from the oven and give 'em a rough chop.
- Be sure to give a final taste for seasoning as beans are hypersensitive to salt amount! I added another generous pinch of salt so that is a heaping teaspoon total for this batch, but keep in mind that the exact salt level will depend on which beans and stock you use.
- To make the Charro Bean puree, scoop out half of the beans and add them to a blender or food processor. Add a couple spoonfuls of the broth and combine well. If it's not combining readily then simply add a few more splashes of the broth. Note: if by chance you add too much broth and your puree comes out quite thin, simply cook it in a skillet over medium heat where it will reduce down to a thicker consistency similar to refried beans.
- To make the Tostadas, add a thin layer of the Charro Bean puree to a warm Tostada shell along with your choice of garnish. I used Pickled Jalapenos, Queso Fresco, freshly chopped cilantro, and a final squeeze of lime. Here's more info on baking your own tostada shells.
- Store leftover Charro Beans in the fridge where they will keep for a few days.