Frijoles Borrachos (Drunk Beans)

My best friend Katie introduced me to these luscious beans years ago, at her dad's Mexican restaurant.

There's no reason why beans can't get drunk on Cinco de Mayo, or any other holiday or meal for that matter.

You'll need to plan ahead a day, as the beans need to be soaked overnight.  Eight hours minimum.  Throw a splash of vinegar in the soaking water - helps the sprouting process and that whole unpleasant <ahem> issue.

All the best parts of cooking are here - smoky bacon, sweet rich dark beer, spices like chipotle and cumin, and my favorite bean, the humble pinto.

These would be perfect at a summer barbecue or picnic, great with burgers or brats, and of course anything Mexican like fajitas or tacos.

Frijoles Borrachos

2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked in plenty of water for at least 8 hours
4 ounces bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
one 12 ounce dark Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried cumin
one whole dried chipotle
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
large pinch sugar

Drain the beans.  In a large kettle or pot, cook the bacon, onion and garlic until they start to soften.  Add the cumin and oregano.  Pour in the beer, then add the water and the beans, and the chipotle and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Stir every so often, and you may have to add more water if it is getting dry.  The final consistency should be barely soupy.  When the beans are tender (VERY IMPORTANT) then you can add the salt.  If you add it sooner, they'll get hard.  Also add a pinch of sugar.  Stir, taste, and enjoy!