Beans and bread, two staples of what Pirates ate during the Golden Age of Pirates, 1650-1725.
What Pirate today hasn’t enjoyed these two warm and wonderful foods together? Delicious and nutritious. Good, healthy comfort food. In fact, they are a staple all over the world for Paupers, Pirates, Painters, and Politicos. Beans: lentils, pintos, hericot vert… And breads: roti, tortilla, baguette. A wide array of breads and beans of many names, shapes, forms, tastes, colors, textures.
Remember now, thar be Pirates in the western shores of the Gulf of Mexico. These be two of the best Tex-Mex recipes that I love together: me favorite charro black bean recipe paired with me best cast iron cornbread recipe.
I love the Tex-Mex Cuisine. Many modern chefs in Texas have refined this old fusion to a high art. Tex-Mex always seems to have cumin, which isn’t in Mexican food. Also, cheddar, montery jack, pepper jack is used instead of white cheeses from Mexico. Tacos are different. Tortillas are different: flour vs corn. And many times, Tex-Mex will add more spices, ground beef, and a wider array of chili peppers found in the US.
I believe Tex-Mex will continue to evolve to a more universal Tex-Latin Cuisine, incorporating herbs, spices, ingredients from Cuban and Caribbean, Central American and Brazilian traditions.
Rich in taste and texture Charro Black Beans and slightly sweet, decidedly Southern Skillet Cornbread slathered with warm butter….. mmmmm this be such a satisfying, quick and easy meal to prepare.
Easy Healthy Food – Comfort Food Recipes
I choose healthy ingredients that are grown sustainably, selected carefully, and then take the time to cook them with attention. Everything about that is just better. Organic, non-GMO, no nitrates, no herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, no growth hormones. I control the ingredients, the nutrients, the utensils, the cookware, my health, my tastes, the way to cook, my satisfaction.
Most of my cooking is done on the weekends, preparing it with care and cooking it slow… sometimes it takes 2 days to have a finished meal. Most times, though, I prepare something from my easy healthy comfort food recipes.
Now rest assured, these are comfort food recipes. And to be easy, we’re going to make charro beans using canned beans. And the cornbread is easy and fun to prepare and dazzling to present.
Charro Black Beans – From Best Tex-Mex Recipes
Pinto beans are the traditional bean for charro beans. However, black beans are similar and substitue well. Black beans are popular all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Pinto beans are popular in northern Mexico and the US. In fact Pinto beans are the most popular bean in the US.
Black beans do have slightly fewer carbs and calories, but overall both are low in carbs and fat, and high in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. The main difference is the color and size. Although they taste quite similar, I think black beans are sweeter.
This is a fast and easy charro beans recipe. It’s dark and delicious. The chipotle and fire roasted tomatoes enhance the smoky bacon and onion base of this dish. The serrano chili peppers are hotter than jalepenos, which adds to the depth and array of tastes. These charro black beans are substantial enough to be a perfect stand-alone meal complemented with hot buttery golden cornbread. And they go well as a side to steaks, grilled seafood, pulled pork. So satisfying.
- 4 16 oz cans Black beans
- 6 ounces smoky Bacon, diced
- 1 large Yellow Onion, chopped
- 4 fresh Serrano chili peppers, some sliced, some diced
- 2 tsp ground Chipotle chili pepper
- 1 tsp dried Mexican Oregano
- 2 tsp ground Cumin
- 2 T chopped Garlic (about 4 large cloves)
- 2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 14-ounce cans Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Bay Leaf
For serving: garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, diced jalapenos, sliced green onions, and bacon bits
- Heat a large pot or 4-qt dutch oven over medium heat. Add diced bacon and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is starting to crisp.
- Add the onions and serranos. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent and begin to soften. Add chipotle, oregano, and cumin, stir and cook for 2 minutes. stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until it’s fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes with the juice, the bay leaf, and vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.
- Add beans with the liquid, 2 C chicken broth, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until the beans are heated through, about 15 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and continue cooking for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the liquid reduced and thickened.
- Taste and season with more salt or pepper as necessary. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, jalapenos, bacon bits, and sliced green onions.
Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread
This is absolutely the best cast-iron skillet cornbread recipe for this meal. It’s really a Southern staple. It tastes so good with warm butter, and it’s impressive to set on the table in the skillet. People can’t help but comment. This slightly sweet skillet cornbread is easy comfort food at it’s finest. This has no chilis or cheese as it will balance the heat from the beans. This is just for hot butter!
Ingredients – have all at room temperature
- 1 C Yellow Cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
- 1 C Unbleached Whole Wheat White Flour
- 1 T Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 2 large Eggs
- 3 T Honey
- 2 T melted unsalted Butter
- 1 1/4 C Milk
- 1/4 C unsalted Butter
- Put your cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large glass bowl.
- In another glass bowl, beat the 2 T of melted butter with the honey. Then beat in the eggs. Then stir in the milk until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix in as few strokes as it takes to just make the batter come together. Let it stand and rest. This cornbread batter is thicker than other batters, so resist the urge to add more milk.
- Meanwhile, pull the skillet out of the oven after it’s pre-heated, put the 1/4 C of butter into the skillet and let it melt in the oven so it heats up again to 375 degrees. Remove the skillet, swirl the butter over the bottom and up its sides.
- Pour the batter immediately into the pan, smoothing the top. Then put it back into the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and pulled away from the sides of the pan.
- Cut into wedges and serve with soft butter.
I love the aromas that float through the house as these foods cook. These are some of the best Tex-Mex recipes to make. There’s nothing like making a pot of these easy charro beans and the iron skillet cornbread sizzling hot from the oven slathered with warm butter. The presentation and aromas are alive. Comida con vida. This is perfect on a cold and rainy Saturday night with just a few friendly folks. These are easy healthy comfort food recipes, healthy Tex-Mex recipes at their finest.
Note the use of hot and spicy fresh and ground peppers, onion and garlic, oregano, bay leaf, and cumin and the extra amounts used. These are healthy for the blood, circulation, arteries, heart, and brain. Good for physical heath, mental heath, emotional health.
Note for the cornbread, this is easy as all dry ingredients go in one bowl, all wet ingredients go in another. And pour the liquid into the dry. Then into the hot cast-iron skillet. Easy.
This to me is the way to cook. Aromatic. Visually Appealing. With layered textures. Spicy. Delicious. The food dazzles. It comes to you. When it goes into your mouth the smoky chewy bacon, nutty beans, rich broth and picante from the spices just pops with flavor. And for many, perhaps a new experience in how easy making healthy comfort food can be.
Please leave your comments. Let me know your thoughts on these recipes. And please stop back by to let me know if you served these to your folks… and how they liked them. Thank you.
Also, I invite you to review my other recipes. Especially my fellow Pirates who love the good life of spicy food, spicier company and libations.
Cooking for Pirates, where every meal is a party for a Pirate.