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Frijoles Borrachos (Drunken Beans)

I hope with all of my heart that you have experienced the cent of onions sautéeing in bacon grease.  There's not much like it in this world.

Involuntary sounds of ecstasy can be heard escaping from the lips of all who are near.  A breath pulled quickly through open lips and closed teeth.  A combination moan and sigh usually accompanied by closed eyes and raised shoulders.  Reactions that are emitted even when you've smelled the aroma before.  Many times over.  They're involuntary.
And lucky for me, that's what I get to experience every time I make a batch of these beans.  My favorite beans.  Thick and hearty and laden with porky goodness.  Sexy chunks of roasted poblanos, crimson tomatoes, and golden onions.   Musky, yeasty undertones of beer.

Along with some Mexican Rice, these make a wonderful accompaniment to a platter of tacos, crispy chimichangas, or even a simple grilled chicken sandwich.  But I always find myself heating up the leftovers and scooping them up with some lightly charred corn tortillas for lunch the following day.  As a meal.

They're just that good.

Frijoles Borrachos (Drunken Beans)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1¾ hour - 2¾ hour
Keywords: simmer side entree beans pork beer Mexican

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 4 oz. fatty pork shoulder, cut into ½" cubes
  • 1 c. beer
  • 7 c. water
  • 8 slices thick bacon (~12 oz.), cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large poblano chiles, roasted & peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes w/ juices
  • ~1 tsp. salt
  • ½ c. roughly chopped cilantro
Place beans in a large pot and cover by a couple of inches with water. Remove any that float. Soak overnight, if you have time. Or do a quick-soak by bringing to a boil for 2 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

Put soaked beans back in the pot along with the pork, beer, and water. Slowly bring to a boil. Partially cover, then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low, stirring from time to time until beans are tender. This can take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours, depending on the freshness of your beans.

In the meantime, fry bacon in a medium skillet over medium-low heat until almost crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet and raise heat to medium. Add onion and chiles and fry until the onion is a deep golden brown, ~8-10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated.

Add tomato mixture, reserved bacon, and salt to the beans. Simmer, stirring from time to time for 20-30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.

When ready to serve, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in cilantro. Enjoy!

adapted from Authentic Mexican
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