Drunken Pintos with Cilantro and Bacon
Yields: 4 c, 4 - 6 side dish servings
From: Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen
8 oz dry pinto beans
½ c (~ 2 oz) cubed pork shoulder, or extra chopped bacon, if you wish
4 thick slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
1 small white onion, ¼” dice
Hot fresh green chile to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
Salt, ~ ¾ t
1 ½ T tequila (+ a little more if you like)
¼ c roughly chopped cilantro
Rinse the beans thoroughly and scoop into a medium-sized pot (preferably a Dutch Oven or Mexican earthenware olla). Add 5 c water, remove any beans that float, then add the pork shoulder (or extra chopped bacon) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and very gently simmer, partially covered, until the beans are thoroughly tender, about 2 hours. You’ll need to gently stir the beans regularly and add water as necessary to keep the liquid a generous ½” above the level of the beans.
In a medium skillet, fry the bacon, stirring regularly, until crisp, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon, leaving behind as much of the drippings as possible. Pour off all by about 2 T of the dripping and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and chiles and fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Scrape the onion mixture into the beans, then taste and season it all with salt. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 20 - 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
If the beans seem quite a bit soupy, boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the consistency of a nice, brothy bean soup. (An alternative is to puree some of the beans and return them to the pot.)
Just before serving, stir in the tequila and cilantro, then serve in warm bowls topped with crumbled bacon.
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