Frijoles borrachos is a Mexican soup recipe also affectionately known as drunken beans. In spite of the dubious name, this is one of my favourite soup recipes. I’m always surprised by the rich aroma and flavour just a few ingredients can produce. I think one of the most important components is the beer.

Once the alcohol cooks away it leaves a very well developed soup. I made the mistake once of using a bitter beer, thinking it would be of no consequences. I don’t know why I thought that because it made so much sense when my soup came out bitter. Word to the wise, use a mild beer (preferably Mexican…for authenticity). I really like Negra Modelo.

For the longest time I didn’t put any garnish on this soup. It’s really a new development. Kind of a shame really. There’s already cilantro in the soup so I reasoned that it wasn’t necessary. Wrong. Also, the crema adds a very nice cool and creamy finish and plays well with the chili oil.

I’m starting to realize that I was doing this soup all wrong because I also didn’t think to eat it with honey & chile de árbol cornbread until recently. What was I thinking. It’s really a perfect pairing. That cornbread is also so well balanced. Just enough moisture, heat, sweet, and butter.

Besides the fact that it just tastes really good, I think what I like about this soup is that it’s such a solid go to recipe. I have most of these items on hand in the pantry or freezer and can toss them in a pot and have a really satisfying and hearty soup in very little time.

I can also usually whip up cornbread in no time at all, which makes it a more complete meal. Definitely going to keep this in my weeknight rotation this fall.

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Ingredients

2 cups of pre-soaked pinto beans (alternatively you could flash boil them or use 2 cans instead)
32 oz / 1 litre chicken stock + 4 cups / 1 litre of water
1 yellow onion, finely diced
6 slices bacon, diced (I keep mine in the freezer to make it easier)
1 bottle of beer (see post above on best kind to use)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 TBSP diced cilantro plus more for garnish (optional)
Salt to taste
Crema, crème fraîche, or chili oil for garnish (optional)

 

Method

Sauté diced bacon in instant pot on the sauté setting or if using a regular pot, then right in the pot on medium-high heat.
When bacon is almost cooked add diced onion and cook until aromatic (3-4 minutes) stirring frequently.
Add the pinto beans, chicken stock, water, beer, cumin and 2 TBSP diced cilantro.
Seal (or cover) and cook under pressure for 30 minutes or on the stovetop until beans are soft.
Adjust salt to your liking.

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Author

My name is Cristina. I was born in Constanta, Romania and moved to Toronto with my parents aged five. Growing up I spent every summer at my grandparents homestead in rural Romania, which instilled in me a deep and consuming love for traditional culture. Back in Toronto I made friends from every part of the world, which sparked a longstanding love affair with the complex identities and traditions behind the cultures I encounter.

For the last three years I’ve been getting to know American culture living in Royal Oak, Michigan with my Romanian-Canadian husband Bogdan and our American rescue dog Oliver.

Culture and identity has been a defining part of my life and I love sharing my explorations in food and culture here. I also write about managing my multiethnic foodie kitchen, sourcing good ingredients, and travel.

If you want to connect the best place to find me is Instagram (I’m always online :P)

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