Charro Beans with Roasted Chayote and Red Chili Corn Pone

A traditional Mexican dish named for her charros (cowboys), charro beans (frijoles charros, cowboy beans) are pinto beans simmered with onions, garlic, chilies and tomatoes.  I’m adding black beans, epazote and Mexican oregano and serving it a roasted, scooped-out chayote (Aztec chayotli) squash with red chili corn pone on the side..

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Soak dried beans overnight, then drain, rinse and cook in fresh water until not quite done, about 1-1 1/2 hours.  Set aside.

For the corn pone, mix together 1 cup of white or yellow stone-ground cornmeal with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of coarse chili powder.  Add 1 teaspoon lard or bacon grease, then carefully stir in 1 cup of boiling water (filtered). Allow to stand long enough to soften and cool, then form into 1/2 inch cakes about 3 inches in diameter.  Cover with a damp towel and set aside. (this corn pone is based on a recipe by author Crescent Dragonwagon)

Meanwhile, split and seed 1 or more chayote, drizzle lightly with oil, season with S&P and roast in a 375 degree oven until charred and tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Toast whole cumin seed in a dry skillet until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon lard or bacon grease, minced garlic, chopped onion and diced jalapeño and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and oregano, beans and the scooped out, chopped flesh of the roasted chayote along with enough of the bean liquor to just cover.

Simmer until beans are tender but intact, perhaps 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, reheat chayote in the oven or under the broiler and fry the pones in a small amount of butter until golden brown and crispy on the edges.

Spoon bean mixture into chayote shells and serve with hot corn pones and a roasted jalapeño.

Chayote is a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at cheeseslave.com


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19 thoughts on “Charro Beans with Roasted Chayote and Red Chili Corn Pone

    1. Glad to hear that somebody else is having a crazy week. I seem to be having a crazy month. Again.

      I have your rules posted on my fridge, by the way. If half the world followed half of them we’d be in pretty good shape.

      Thanks, Annette!

  1. It’s not easy – I finally found a farm across the border in OR that grows organic beans and dried corn which I buy in large quantities and I’ll have to use dried tomatoes since they aren’t ripe in Seattle yet. And of course I’ll have to leave out the chayote squash but I’m so there on the rest of it. It looks great! Love your new pic by the way.

  2. Looks amazing! Those are precisely my local foods too — corn, beans, squash. For some reason, I haven’t been able to grow chayote here in my neck of Texas. I’ll try again next season.

    1. Thanks! Chayote does best if sprouted on your counter before being planted. Once it roots, it likes quite a lot of sun and water and a trellis. Compost helps.

  3. So we pretty much use as much or as little of the ingredients as we want? The only quantities I see are for the corn pone.

    Give me a hint, please – a pound of beans?

    Sounds delicious – and something my husband will eat.

    1. By all means, do modify to suit your taste. Here are the rough quantities that I used, enough to feed two adults depending on appetite..

      1 1/2 cups dried beans
      1/2 large onion
      1-2 jalapeños
      1 T Mexican oregano
      1 t epazote (optional)
      1 t cumin seeds
      3 cloves garlic
      2 tomatoes
      2 chayote squash
      S&P

      Hope that helps!

      Thanks!

      1. Thanks, Ren, that helps a lot. Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to figure out recipes at 4 AM, too. :)

        Now I just have to find epazote.

      1. Oh, yeah… next to Thai food (which I sadly do not know how to cook!) it is my favorite kind of food!

        The baby wants beans lately. I absolutely must have them every day and have made everything from bean soups to bean dips and all the things in between.

    1. I wound up buying a 9-foot patio umbrella, which has helped a lot. I still need to get the pots up off the ground, though, and something is eating all the basil.

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