Cowboy Beans or Ranchero Beans, as they are most often called, are a delicious combination of spice, smoked pork and soaked beans. The flavors are rustic and hearty and the beans need time to cook for a few hours to tenderize and integrate flavors.
I like to serve these Ranchero Beans as a side dish with grilled or roasted meat, but they are filling enough all by themselves. This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or you can freeze half for later to eat on a chilly fall evening.
5 cups dried small red, pinto or kidney beans
1 white onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 smoked pork shank or ham hock
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1. Place beans in a large pot with water to cover. Soak overnight, drain and rinse.
2. In a large pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the diced onion. Saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Then, add the cayenne, onion powder, cumin and smoked paprika and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 2 minutes.
3. Then, add the smoked pork shank or hock and the soaked beans.
4. To the beans, add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, chicken stock and water to cover. Stir the beans to combine and add the bay leaves. Turn the heat to low and cover the beans with a lid, leaving it slightly a jar. Cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and break the pork apart with a wooden spoon, removing the bone before serving.
5. Serve the beans family style, straight from the pot. Enjoy!