Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Drunken Pinto Beans

It was blissful weekend, and I spent most of it either cooking or eating with friends; that's the life for me! Most everything I cooked over the weekend was Mexican-inspired, and these beans were a particularly big hit last night (sorry, vegetarians!).

Drunken Pinto Beans

8 oz. dry pinto beans (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup cubed pork shoulder or pork butt (about 2 ounces)
4 slices bacon
1 small white onion, diced
Couple sprigs of epazote***
Hot fresh geen chiles to taste (serrano or jalapeno)
Salt to taste
Couple splashes of tequila
Couple handfuls of diced cilantro

Rinse the beans and put them into a pot, preferably an enamal coated
cast iron. Cover with about 5 cups water, and add the pork shoulder
and the epazote sprigs***. Bring to a boil and simmer gently,
partially covered, until the beans are tender. This should take about
one and a half to two hours. Gently stir the beans occasionally and
add water as needed, keeping the water level about one half inch above
the beans.

Now, it's time to cook the bacon! Do it however you like. I like to
bake it, putting it on a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet,
so the drippings fall down into the baking sheet. When the bacon is
done, set it aside and take some of the drippings and put them into a
skillet and now, it's time to fry the onions and chiles in all this
glorious fat! Once the onions are nice and soft and golden brown, add
them and the chiles to the pot 'o beans. Continue simmering for
another 15 - 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Now it's time to taste
it and add salt to taste. Notice I did not say to add the salt in the
beginning! With beans, you always add the salt AFTER the beans are

And now my friends, you will finish the dish. You've simmered the
beans until they're nicely tender, and you've added the porky onions
and chiles. You want the consistency of the pot 'o beans to be
something like a brothy bean soup. Perhaps you may like it thicker;
if that's the case, then puree some of the beans and throw them back
into the pot. However you like it, just be sure to add these final
touches before serving: crumble the bacon into the beans, stir in the
cilantro, and splash that tequila into the pot! Be sure to not get
too drunk DRINKING the tequila that you forget to leave some for the
frijoles! And also, when you're trying to get your guests attention
to direct them to which items are appropriate for vegetarians
(certainly not this one!), make sure to wear oven mits, and
schlurrrrrrrrrrr. It's very effective.

***It is said that in Mexico, no one soaks beans overnight and that in
fact, that doesn't do SHIT to make them easier to digest. It is said
that the only way to make it easier to digest beans is to eat more
beans. It is also said that cooking the beans with epazote helps with digestion,
but the jury is still out on that one.***

This recipe was adapted from the Rick Balyess 's Mexican Kitchen
cookbook. The smartass comments are mine alone, so don't let that Rick
Bayless try to tell you differently.

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