If you grew up like I did, you grew up with a pot of beans always simmering away on the back burner. In my grandmother’s house, the pot was made of clay which imparted its own earthy flavor to them. The little clay pot with pale orange stripes lived on that back burner. We never ran out of beans. There were frijoles de la olla (beans fresh out of the pot) that she served us. Later those beans would get mashed with bacon grease and sometimes cheese was added to make delicious, stringy, melt-in-your-mouth burritos or we’d have beans with our morning scramble of eggs, tomatoes and chiles. We had beans every day and never tired of them.
I got away from the beans every day routine when I married. My husband didn’t really care for them (no idea why) and so I made them less. After the divorce, I made them every day for my kids because a) they were cheap and b) they were delicious. Not only that, but with four growing kids, three of them boys who were always hungry, it was a way to actually fill those bellies. After the kids moved out, I stopped making beans every day again. Living alone, I tend to nibble on things instead of actually cooking during the week. Only on weekends when the grandkids are here do I made big meals and of course, the beans which I then freeze so we have them.
It is only the rare occasion that I make frijoles borrachos – drunken beans. They are awash in bacon and pork butt or shoulder and absolutely decadent. These are NOT the beans of my youth. They require tequila. Once the tequila is out of the bottle, there will be shots taken. You just have to. It’s a tradition. These are very grown up beans.
Get a pot, wash your beans. Grab a big honking piece of pork shoulder or butt and toss it in the pot. You don’t need to worry about cutting it up. The hours slow cooking will take care of that. Don’t put in salt. Just the pork, a quartered onion and a few cloves of garlic. Put it on the stove and turn your flame to simmer. Put a lid on the pot. Then leave it alone except for the occasional check to see if there’s enough water in there. Go do stuff. Leave ‘em alone.
When the beans are near done – 2-3 hours later. Grab a pound of bacon. Yes, a pound. Shut up. You don’t make these all the time. Fry that bacon until it is super crispy. Crumble half of it into a bowl and the other half dump it into your pot of beans. Dice an onion or two depending on how many beans you made and dice up some either chile serranos or jalapeños. Up to you how hot you want it. Fry the chiles and onions in the bacon grease. I told you to shut up. Just fry them in that grease until they are browned and your kitchen smells like heaven. Scrape all the bacon bits from the pan while you’re frying. Scoop that out and drain it, then dump it into the pot of beans. Add salt to taste if your beans aren’t salty enough with all that bacon. Chop some cilantro.
Just before serving add about a 1/2 cup of tequila to the beans and add the cilantro, reserving a little of it for the bowl. Serve out into bowls, top with crumbled bacon and more cilantro and then splash it with a shot of tequila.
We like ours with slices of fresh tomato, crumbled queso fresco and a tostada. We also serve icy cold tequila in shots alongside it. Buen provecho. Don’t drunken frijol and drive.