Borracho ("drunken") Beans

"When I served these to the DH, his response was: "These aren't good, they're GREAT!" I added heat with 1 morita chili (like dried chipotles, only made with smoked red rather than green jalapenos). Got the recipe from a friend who has kinfolk in New Mexico."
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Ready In:
3hrs 15mins


  • 2 lbs pinto beans (or rosado, flor de Mayo, pinquito, etc., if you can find them)
  • 3 pieces bacon, diced (use smoky variety)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (or to taste)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle beer (Victoria, Tecate, Dos Equis, avoid dark beer or ales as they add too much flavor)
  • 1 morita chili (optional, substitute dried chipotle)


  • Soak pinto beans overnight.
  • In a non-reactive stewpot (I use an enameled one, but stainless OK too, or a dutch kettle) cook bacon.
  • When cooked (but not crisp) add onion, garlic, and the finely chopped stems from cilantro; and saute all this until soft.
  • Toast cumin, grind and add. Add tomatoes, including juice, the beans, beer, morita (or chipotle) and enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then simmer over low heat for 2-3 hrs (or at this point cover & put the whole mess in a slow oven or a crock pot), adding water as needed, until beans are tender.
  • In the last 15 min or so of cooking add the chopped cilantro tops and adjust salt to taste at the same time.
  • Like all beans, they taste even better after a day or two & the leftovers freeze well.

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I only came to cooking in my 50s, when we moved home to a tiny town with only a few restaurants. I'm always on the hunt for easy, flavorful recipes (often ethnic cuisines), and I'm always ready to try something new and different! In cold weather I gravitate to stews, soups, and casseroles of the not-too-heavy kind; in hot weather I love a salad or cold soup. Partly because of my husband's diabetes (I'm borderline) and partly out of indolence, baking is not my thing.
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