Borracho ("Drunken") Beans for 8 or 100
This very traditional recipe cooks off the alcohol, leaving only a delicious TexMex treat. Around Mexico City, many taco stands serve salsa borracho, or "drunken sauce" fortified with pulque, a fermented beverage made from the agave plant. As "drunken" dishes crawled north towards the border, and away from the source of pulque, beer became the ingredient of choice. You can use pinto beans (traditional) or pink or black beans; all delicious.
Because beans take so long to cook, they are traditionally made in large batches. Leftover beans, once they are well cooled, can be frozen in smaller portions. They are great as a side dish, or as the base for tacos, tostadas, chalupas, or refried beans.
Borracho beans don't keep quite as well in the refrigerator as other cooked beans. They hold well overnight, but if you are keeping them longer, freeze them.
For 100 people, START WITH 12 pounds of beans!
For each 1 pound of beans (about 8 people):
1 pound dried beans (pinto, black or pink)
2 quarts water or mixed water and chicken/meat broth
1/2 pound seasoning meat (bacon, ham, pork shoulder, etc)
2 serrano or jalapeno peppers
1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped
OR substitute 1 can Rotel tomatoes with peppers for the fresh tomatoes
3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 1 cup chopped cilantro
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) dark beer or ale
salt and pepper to taste
2 limes, juice added just before serving
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound chopped onion
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon whole cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce
24 tortillas (corn is traditional)
1 pound shredded cheese
IMPORTANT! Add stock or water to keep the beans slightly soupy throughout the cooking process. Stir the beans occasionally throughout the entire time to make sure they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
Soak beans in a large pot of water overnight.
Drain beans, and refill the pot with chicken or meat stock and enough water to cover the beans with 2 inches of liquid. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Beans will foam for a short while; stir until no more foam develops.
If you are transfering to an electric roaster preheated at 300 or a crock pot/slow cooker prewarmed on high, NOW is the time to do it!
Add seasoning meat, optional bay leaf and cumin and simmer, stirring occasionally until beans are desired texture, about 1 hour, adding additional 1/2 cup water per pound of beans as necessary to keep beans from drying on bottom of pot.
Add garlic, optional chili powder, hot sauce, and onion and cook until onions are very tender, about 1 hour in the pot or roaster, 3 hours in the crock pot.
Add tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes, then add ale, stirring in slowly.
Simmer until all alcohol has evaporated. To tell, bend over pot and breathe deeply. Smell should be fragrant and smooth, with no sharp alcohol smell. This usually takes at least 15 minutes after the beer is added. If possible, simmer an hour longer to allow flavors to steep and mellow. If too soupy, leave the lid off the pot for part of the time.
With a potato masher, crush the beans slightly to thicken the bean liquid. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. They are even better the second day.
To serve, stir in the fresh lime juice, serve with as an entree with grated cheddar or Mexican cheese and corn tortillas, or as a side dish for any grilled meat.