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Thread: Cowboy Beans

  1. #1
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    Cowboy Beans

    This recipe comes from Hello! My Name Is Tasty: Global Diner Favorites from Portland's Tasty Restaurants by Chef John Gorham. My good friend Eric S. says he doesn't like sweet baked beans and these savory ones are his favorites.

    Cowboy Beans
    10/12 Servings

    Ingredients
    • 14 cups water
    • 4 cups dried pinto beans
    • 1 ham hock, 1.5-2 lbs
    • 3 Tablespoons bacon fat (or lard or butter)
    • 1 small sweet onion, diced fine
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 sweet onions, quartered
    • 3 jalapenos, halved lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1 roma tomato


    To Finish
    • Juice from 2 limes
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
    • kosher salt and ground black pepper
    • 2 cups crumbled cotija cheese
    • 1 cup salsa (your favorite)


    In large LeCruset/Dutch oven, combine water, beans, hock, bacon fat, diced onion, bay leaf, and baking soda. Turn stove burner to HIGH and bring contents to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 to 1.5 hrs until beans are very tender.

    While beans are cooking, heat a 10" cast iron skillet over MED-HIGH heat until good and hot. Add quartered onions, jalapenos, and tomato and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring several times, until cooked and some signs of charring are visible. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

    Pulse veg mixture in food processor or chop by hand into a coarse paste.

    Preheat oven to 375°F.

    When beans have finished cooking, retrieve the hock, remove and discard hock skin. Pick meat from bone with fork, chop somewhat fine and return meat to Dutch oven. Discard bone.

    Bring beans back to a simmer on stovetop and stir in the chopped veg mixture. Transfer pot to preheated oven, cook uncovered 45-60 minutes or until beans have reached thick consistency of typical baked beans.

    Add lime juice and cilantro, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper to your taste (chef says he usually adds 1-2 Tablespoons of salt, depending on saltiness of ham hock used). To improve flavor and texture, let beans cool to room temp, refrigerate overnight, then reheat and serve the next day.

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Place beans in large cast iron pan or baking dish and top with cheese, adjusting amount to your liking. Bake 15-20 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle room-temp salsa over beans or serve on the side. Serve beans immediately.

  2. #2
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    That looks tasty! But no cojita cheese up here. Therefore:
    Cotija cheese is a Mexican, dry grating cheese made with cow's milk and is similar to Parmesan. In the U.S. you may find a fresher, softer version, similar to Feta but in Mexico this salty cheese is typically aged at least 100 days. Cotija is named after the Mexican city of Cotija, Michoacán.
    Cotija anejo

    The aged version is referred to as "anejo". This is not a cheese you would add to your cheese board but you would typically use it crumbled or grated over tacos, beans, soups or casseroles.


    Substitute for Cotija cheese

    If you need a substitute for soft cotija cheese:
    A good substitute would be Feta cheese

    For the aged cotija, substitute:

    Parmesan or Romano cheese.


    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  3. #3
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    Found a 2010 post on Chowhound indicating that Highland Farms in Mississauga had a good selection of Mexican-style cheeses. Maybe you'll find Cotija or Queso Anejado (aged cheese) there.

  4. #4
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    Tks for that Chris. They have a HUGE selection of ethnic products.
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

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