Frijoles charros are traditionally made with bacon, but variations use chorizo, ham and beef. The meat I love to flavor a pot of beans is smoked pork hocks.
1 pound pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons lard
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 serrano chiles, minced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork hocks
1 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
lime wedges and crumbled Cotija cheese
Step 1Drain and rinse the soaked pinto beans and set aside.
Step 2Heat lard in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in onion and chilis. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and just starts to turn brown on the edges, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Step 3Add minced garlic and continue stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to break down and form a chunky sauce, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Step 4Add beans, hocks, chicken stock, kosher salt, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the hocks to cool, and discard the bay leaves.
Step 5Increase the heat to a low boil and let the beans cook, uncovered, until broth has reduced and thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Step 6Once hocks are cool enough to handle, remove skin and excess fat. Shred the meat with a fork and stir, along with the chopped cilantro, into the beans. Season to taste with additional salt, and serve.