Cowboy beans recipe

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Full Member
May 4, 2009
Whilst Jamie Oliver is IMHO one of the most annoying TV chefs out there, I fancied trying his recipe for cowboy beans, so gave it a go last night. It's a cracker!

Soak a packet of pinto beans overnight in water (requires some planning, this bit). Then chop a couple of onions and a red pepper, plonk them in a pot with olive oil, some brown sugar or black treacle, and fry down for a while until they're caramelised. Add some chillies (dried, fresh, jar, whatever) if you like.

Then plop in the beans and 3 tins of tinned tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with a hunk of bread. This lot will easily feed 6 as a main meal, and is SO much better than beans from a tin.

Yumsk! goodjob

PS - the effects were a little musical afterwards. If you're sleeping in a tipi you may wish to apply a pilot light to the top vent to safely burn off the gases... ;)


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
Olive oil? Yeah, I'm sure that was a chow-wagon staple... Bacon or beef dripping would seem more authentic. ;)


Jun 10, 2006
south wales
It'd be better with a ham hough methinks. Pork belly might be too fatty?

Pork belly or salt pork as used by cowboys (or second nation cattle drovers if thats more PC) would be high in fat but they needed the energy and as much as I like a ham/pork hock I'd go with the belly pork for pure flavour :)


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 6, 2008
South Queensferry
It'd be better with a ham hough methinks.
Definately, and you won't need to add salt either.

The thread title reminds me of an American I met in Edinburgh, on holiday here for "The Gathering" last year.

We got blethering, as you do, and eventually he asked me if I liked baked beans.

Beans? Oh Aye, love beans, I answered, I like lots of varieties, except Butter Beans.

Did you know that Heinz even do 57 Varieties in one tin can? They are very popular here in Scotland, said I, trying to have a laugh at his expense.

"That makes absolute sense." he said, "We have you Scots to thank for introducing baked beans to the States."

Say again, over?

"Hell Yeah, baked beans, famous the world over as a Cowboy's staple diet, invented right here in Scatlinnd, as everyone knows".

And he was serious. He went on to explain the history of Scots introducing baked beans into the states. He went on in depth. By the end he had tears in his eyes and was bursting with pride!!

Well, it was news to me. I didn't have the heart to contradict him.

In fact I thought of him on Burns Night when I celebrated with Haggis, Baked Beans and Champit Tatties.

True story. "Only in Ameriki" as my late Gran used to say. :)


Sep 22, 2006
"2kg Beef Brisket trimmed and sliced into cubes
500ml hot coffee
3 large dried chillies
olive oil (or pig fat as per above ;0) )
2 heaped teaspoons of ground cumin
2 Heaped teaspoons of smoked paprika (it is well worth getting this, found it in the speciality bit in sains)
1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano
2 fresh bay leaves ( i used dried)
2 red onions peeled and diced
3-4 fresh chillies
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloaves of garlic peeled and finely sliced (i crushed)
salt and pepper
4 x 400g tins of chopped toms
3 tablespoons molasses or muscovado sugar
3 peppers deseeded and sliced
2 X 400g tins of beans (kidney,butter or pinto) drained

Make coffee, whilst its hot, soak the dried chillies in it for a few minutes to let them rehydrate. Meanwhile put your largest casserole type pan (dutch oven) on a low heat (high over the fire) and add a few lugs of olive oil, the cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaves and onions. Fry for 10 minutes, untill the onions have softened. Deseed and chop half your fresh chillies. Slice Up the rehydrated chillies and add them to the onion mixture along with the chopped fresh chilli, the cinnamon sticks, sliced garlic and a good pinch of salt and pepper and a splash of the chilli infused coffee. Stir, then add the rest of the coffee, the tinned tomatoes and the molasses or sugar. Add the pieces of brisket and another good pinch of salt and pepper , cover with a lid then simmer for 3 hrs, stirring occasionally.

After a few hours use 2 forks or a potato masher (I used a hand whisk, worked very well) to break up the meat and pull it apart. Once you have done this add the slice peppersand tinned beans and leave to simmer, stirring occasionaly, for 30 minutes with the lid off untill the meat is completely falling apart and deliciouse."

In brackets is what i did, next time i do this i will do 2/3rds coffee and 1/3 stout! Is an awsome chilli, well worth the effort

Love him or hate him he has some great dishes! I made the corn breads to go with it and they were great as well!


Feb 27, 2005
Saudi Arabia
I reckon if I put the pork belly in the dutch oven with an inch of water, the fat will cook out, then I can use it to fry off the belly and then the onions/peppers/other stuff as I see fit. then add the beans.
I'm dribbling at the thought of it now.


Dec 6, 2003
A traditional cowboy recipe for beans woud be pinto beans, ham hock or as rik mentioned salt pork, minced garlic served with corn bread

Helen Back

Jan 1, 2010
don't forget bacon ribs, cut into 2-3 inch pieces - more flavour in my opinion, but they might need soaking for an hour, then draining.

and where are the carrots :)