Who eats the barley? Who eats the grain?

Carne en su jugo literally translates to meat in it’s juices. I never had this as a kid as my family was more charro bean fans but I was intrigued at how similar yet different this is than charro or borracho beans. The end result of this recipe is a delicious hearty bean soup-y sort of thing that is spicy, filling and surprising on the healthier side (given how fatty the animal alternative is).

Charro beans were a favorite as a kid but we didn’t have them often due to the pork content. My dad immigrated to America from Algeria in the 70’s. He was muslim so what did that mean? No bacon at breakfast and no charro beans at dinner. 

Luckily the recipe includes no meat but just in case, for my father, let’s start by placing HARAM loudly on your speakers. Next, take an onion and a handful of garlic. Dice that shit up as if you were dicing up trump’s cheeto head and add to stock pot with a bit of oil. Turn the fire on and cook for a few minutes.

While that’s cooking, take couple cups of textured vegetable protein also known as TVP crumbles and add to pot along with a few cups of water (enough to cover the crumbles entirely). The cool thing about TVP is it plays nice in water/soups and doesn’t get mushy but much like tofu, it’s a blank canvas for seasoning. So naturally, add a shitload of spices to mimic what you would get in a beef broth/beef fat. For me this was – a handful of nutritional yeast, a couple dashes of chili powder, a few generous pinches of smoked paprika, a few dashes of cumin, a bit of garlic and onion powder, a little tumeric, a couple of tablespoons of vegan worchester sauce, a splash of bragg’s liquid aminos, a couple teaspoons of no-chicken stock liquid bullion and salt + pepper to taste.

I brought my broth to a boil then simmered. While simmering, I preheated my oven to 400 and added 4 tomatillos and 1 whole white onion to a baking sheet and roasted for 15 minutes. I added the tomatillos and onion with cilantro, 2 serrano peppers (one with seeds, one without), a juice of 1 lime, a little soy sauce, few garlic cloves  to a blender and blended until smooth. Add to your stock pot and add a little more cilantro on top, and simmer for 20 minutes to develop flavors.

You could use dry or canned beans for this next step. I used canned because I was hungry as fuck and didn’t think to soak beans the night before.

I opened up a big can of pinto beans and dumped them in a small pot – juices and all. I added some spices but you don’t have to, they’ll be fine on their own then heated them up.

The thing I like about this bean dish is all the toppings – chopped onion, cilantro, peppers, radish, avocado and bacon bits. I made my bacon bits by crumbling a little tempeh and adding smoked paprika, some braggs and a few other standard spices. I cooked until they were a little burnt. Super fast + simple. Add whatever bacon-y seasonings you’d like.


After everything has simmered for a bit, grab yourself a bowl. Start with beans then top with “meat” and spicy broth. Top with aforementioned dope as fuck toppings, squeeze a lil lime and enjoy.

PS. Check out this Ghost Ship benefit in Austin in a couple weeks!


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