Drunken Beans
Serves: 6-10, depending on what else you are serving
  • 1 pound (2 ½ cups) dried pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, about 30 sprigs
  • 4 slices nitrate-free bacon, cut into ¼” pieces (optional -- I used Wellshire Farms organic turkey bacon)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup tequila ( a decent gold or silver tequila is fine here; don't waste your money on an aged tequila)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch cayenne (omit or add two pinches, depending on the level of heat you like)
  • big pinch ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (Grade A or Grade B)
  • 1 cup Mexican lager or beer of choice (beer is not gluten-free unless you find a GF beer; feel free to omit if necessary)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (I like Jovial organic paste in glass jars)
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • 2 ounces Cojita or feta cheese, crumbled, about ½ cup (optional)
  1. Soak beans with lots of cold water at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Pick leaves from 20 cilantro sprigs (reserve stems), finely chop and refrigerate until needed. Using kitchen twine, tie remaining 10 cilantro sprigs and reserved stems into bundle.
  3. Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper-towel lined bowl and set aside. If pan looks dry, add some olive oil. Add onion, poblanos, and garlic to pot and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
  4. Carefully add tequila and cook until evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to high; stir in beans, 3 ½ cups water, bay leaves, cayenne, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, maple syrup, and cilantro bundle and bring to a boil. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are just soft, 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Transfer pot to the stove and uncover. Discard bay leaves and cilantro bundle. Stir in beer and
  7. tomato paste and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer vigorously, stirring frequently, until liquid is thick and beans are fully tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve with reserved chopped cilantro, lime wedges, Cojita, and reserved bacon on the side.
Recipe by Pamela Salzman at https://pamelasalzman.com/drunken-beans-recipe/