These Drunken Beans have a rich, complex flavor that comes from using a mixture of beer, tequila, and morita chiles (a type of chipotle, meaning a dried and smoked red jalapeño pepper). This recipe only relies on a small amount of meat, with the bacon adding smokiness. Using morita chiles allows you to omit the bacon without sacrificing depth of flavor.
Frijoles Borrachos (Drunken Beans)
- 2 1/2 cups dried pinto beans rinsed
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt plus 1 teaspoon
- 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 white onion chopped finely
- 1 poblano chile stemmed, seeded, and chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup tequila
- 3 1/2 cups water divided
- 2 morita chiles
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
- 12 ounces Mexican-style lager
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 limes quartered
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese crumbled (optional)
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- Pickled onions see recipe on this page
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons of salt in 4 quarts of cold water in a large bowl. Add the beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F.
- Boil 1 cup of water and pour in a bowl with morita chiles and let it reconstitute for 30 minutes. When the peppers have finished soaking, mince and set them aside. Reserve the chile water.
For meat version:
- Cook bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until crisp, 5–8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined bowl and set aside.
For meatless version:
- Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add
- 2 tablespoons of avocado oil.
- Add onion, morita chiles, and poblano to bacon fat or avocado oil and cook, frequently stirring, until vegetables soften, 6–7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn heat to medium low, add tequila, and cook until evaporated, 3–4 minutes.
- Increase heat to high; stir in 2 1/2 cups water, reserved chile water, bay leaves, remaining teaspoon of salt, beans, and coriander, and bring to boil.
- Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook until the beans are just soft, 45–60 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the oven. Discard bay leaves. Stir in beer and tomato paste and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer vigorously, frequently stirring, until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender, for about 30 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Serve with lime wedges, cilantro, cotija and reserved bacon (if desired), and warm tortillas or cornbread.
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 garlic clove halved
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 large red onion halved and thinly sliced
- Stir together the vinegar, cloves, garlic, honey, salt, bay leaf, and pepper flakes in a 1-quart glass jar until the honey dissolves.
- Place the onions in a mesh strainer and slowly pour boiling water over them while holding the strainer over a sink.
- Add the hot onions to the brine. Gently press the onions down in the brine to fully submerge.
- Put a lid on the jar and place it in the refrigerator for at least one day before eating. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.