So a few posts ago, I mentioned the vegetarian cowboy beans that I made as a side for my campfire ribs. I wanted to do the cowboy beans because they’re really great over an open fire. You basically just mix your ingredients together, throw it in a pot or cast iron, put it over your fire, and keep stirring until they’re done.
That’s basically how they got their name – because they’re so quick and easy for “cowboys” and campers to make. You can put things together on location or if you want to make things really easy, you can even prepare the ingredients ahead of time, bring them with you, and then just, like I said, slap everything into a cast iron over a fire. So simple.
Traditional cowboy beans use beef or bacon or something like that, but I like pulling back on the meat a little bit when I’m making sides for a heavy meat dish like ribs, so that’s why I went vegetarian.
I used to work with this dude who could make these authentic Mexican style ranchero beans… and they were sooo good. So for these vegetarian cowboy beans, I wanted to make them just a little bit spicy like the ranchero beans (it worked out well because the ribs weren’t too spicy so they balanced each other out). I added an extra step to the simple process by making a tomato and dried chili base, which is basically just reconstituting the chilies in the tomato sauce (with a touch of garlic because I like it).
Like I said, really easy and super delicious.
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 red bell pepper, small diced
2 small-to-medium tomatoes, small diced
1 small onion, small diced
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 dried chipotle peppers, stemmed and seeded
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Boil the dried chilies and garlic in the tomato sauce until the chilies are soft – about 10 to 15 minutes, whisking periodically. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender until smooth.
Mix the puree with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, stir it up, and transfer to the cast iron. Place over an open fire for 25-30 minutes, stirring periodically until your mixture is cooked down and caramelized. The mixture will thicken, so you can add either water, stock, or even coffee (in true cowboy style) to thin it out.
(PS: the cook time will be roughly the same if you want to prepare this at home on a stove top.)