Saturday, February 28, 2015

Drunken Beans

How many beans recipes have I posted, over the years? Quite a few! I never tire of finding new ways to prepare them.  We especially enjoy beans with barbecue and chili con carne.

Given my first choice, pinto beans always win. This must come from my childhood love of my "Nana's" refried beans and homemade tortillas. This is true comfort food for me.  I bookmarked this recipe in the January/February 2015 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  The name "Drunken" comes from the tequila and beer that is added to the beans!   I can assure you that you can't really taste the booze-- pinkie promise. The liquor just gives a more complex depth of flavor. That's "foodie" talk for "awesome taste".

For this recipe, you'll need fresh cilantro.  If you're cursed with taste buds that doesn't like cilantro, this recipe isn't going to be for you.  Fortunately, cilantro is an herb that my entire family really likes.

I needed 30 sprigs of cilantro, pulling off the leaves of 20 of the sprigs.  The sprigs are all tied together, and the leaves are chopped and reserved as a garnish.

Things are about to get even better-- bacon is cooked to render the fat, then removed with a slotted spoon. To the bacon fat, we cook onion, garlic, poblano peppers until softened.  Now-- we add 1/2 cup of tequila and cook until it evaporates.

 I had soaked the pinto beans in salted water, the night before.  I gave then a good rinse.

To the Dutch oven, I added the beans, cilantro garni, water, and bay leaves.  I put the covered pot into a 275F oven for an hour.

The cilantro and bay leaves are removed....and now, to add one cup of Mexican beer, and some tomato paste.  Bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if necessary. Garnish with fresh cilantro and Cotijo cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

TASTING NOTES: Looooooooooove this bean recipe! I promise you, nobody would know there's tequila and beer in the recipe.  The beans just pack a lot of great flavor, and the poblano chilis pack a bit of heat...  next time, I will only use one poblano pepper. I like spicy food, but not really hot spice!

I was starting to lose natural light, when I took this photo.  After allowing the beans to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, the sauce thickened even more.

I served the beans as a side dish to the pork carnitas that I made.  I could easily enjoy this as a main dish, served over rice.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.

TASTING NOTES:Reheated, the beans were just as good.  As an added note: next time I will use only one poblano pepper, as two made these borderline too spicy for my palate.  These beans do not taste boozy, at all.  Pinkie promise. Instead, the beans had a complex flavor that was outstanding.

Yes, indeed, this recipe is going to have a repeat performance during the summer grilling months!

A printable recipe is at the end of this post.


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Big Dude said...

As a big fan of pinto beans, cilantro, beer and tequila, I know I would love these. Soup beans were white when I was growing up, but after moving to TN, when pintos are king, I converted.

Christine said...

Debby, these beans sound delicious and I can't wait to try the recipe. Yesterday I made your version of Chili Con Carne minus the green chilis (still chicken about hot things) and it was delicious. Really liked your spice mix. My recipe was getting a bit bland of late in an effort to achieve a low sodium diet and this was just what was needed! Why 80% ground beef vs. 93% if I may ask? Just curious :)

Kate said...

We enjoy beans and drunk beans are always a hit....and yours, with both tequila and beer sound wonderful!

Sippity Sup said...

Tequila and beer! These beans really are on a bender. GREG

Joanne said...

Tequila in my beans?! YES PLEASE.

Mary ann said...

These are just amazing. I entertain lots..and I need 'go-to' food. Made these in a huge pot for a friends retirement party to compliment carnitas..a great group-type meal. They were GONE! Folks came back for more and asked for the secret! Don't skip the dark beer! If I make small batches you can use half a bottle and freeze the remainder and it still works!
You can use different beans. I love how black beans look with queso cheese and sprinkled cilantro for presentation.
My wonderful neighbor who is a BBQ'd brisket fanatic came over last wkend to 'borrow' a half cup of tequila for a dbl. recipe. Once he tasted these, he's Began adding these with the traditional baked beans. Huge hit, thank you, forever!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thank you for the positive feedback. You reminded me to make these again!