Drunken Beans, or, Frijoles Barrachos

2015-09-02 17.16.00RECIPE #54, DAY #66

ORIGINAL RECIPE: The Border Cookbook, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison*

TIMING: somewhere around 2 hours

DIFFICULTY: Easy, but follow the recipe to avoid mistakes with bean-making

TOOLS: A large soup pot

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH:  These are good for you. Pretty much any pot of home-made beans is good for you. Now, what will you do with it? A pairing of a whole grain and a vegetable will take this meal right over the top of your healthy meal scale.

If you have issues with digesting beans (and you know what I mean), you have two options. Incorporate more into your diet and your body will adjust. (That is the option I suggest.) Or two, take some Bean-O (or other digestive enzyme). You need the low-fat fiber and high-quality amino acids.

2015-09-02 17.15.54EXPERIENCE: Still grasping for bare-pantry recipes before I can get to the grocery store. I have dried beans. I have rice. I have frozen corn. I have canned tomatoes. I have an old can of beer. And that’s about it. Well then, it’s about time I simmer a pot of beans while I’m picking up my kids.

Cooking beans from the dry version always makes me feel like a super-woman. Or like Dora, “We did it, we did it, we did it, yeah! Lo hicimos!” I have conquered domestic tasks! I have nourished my whole family!

And it’s not really that hard.

NOTES: These beans do contain beer. I really doubt there is any alcohol left to speak of, but the beer gives them a very yeasty flavor. There are plenty of versions to make without the beer, if you object to it. I will at some point be posting my favorite bean recipe, Frijolles de Olla, which contains no alcohol.


  1. In a large soup pot, dump in 2 cups dried pinto beans and 5 cups water. Add 2-3 cups beer (preferably light), 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 chopped white onion, 6 cloves sliced garlic, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons dried oregano.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Stir up beans and check to make sure there is enough water to cover. If not, add more water. Cook another 1/2 hour.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon salt and check on your beans again, this time for doneness. Continue cooking until beans are silky-soft and there is a gravy left in the pan with the beans.
  5. Taste for salt, then drizzle with more oil and vinegar and serve.



  1. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/2 cup cream. Add more cream if needed, to make consistency sort-of pourable.

Serve with tortillas, pickled onion, shredded lettuce, crema, Mexican cheese, radishes, salsa, and roasted chiles, as well as a Modelo or Corona, OR with a Mexican rice and your favorite Mexican taco.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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