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Trader Vic’s Book of Mexican Cooking (1973) – Frijoles Borracho / Drunken Beans

January 11, 2013
Trader Vic's Book of Mexican Cooking (1973) by Victor J. Bergeron

Trader Vic’s Book of Mexican Cooking (1973) by Victor J. Bergeron. UTSA Libraries Special Collections

Bergeron, Victor Jules. Trader Vic’s Book of Mexican Cooking. Garden City, NY: Doubleday &, 1973. P 94. Print. [TX716 .M4 847 1973]

By Denise Rabe, an undergraduate nutrition student at UTSA

Frijoles Borracho / Drunken Bean

To precook the pinto beans, soak and simmer them as directed for the refried beans; then drain them, but do not mash

  • ½ cup chopped raw bacon
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ pound pork loin, cubed
  • 2 cups (No. 303 can) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound Mexican pinto beans, precooked and drained
  • 1 pint beer
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, gently fry the bacon until the fat is rendered. Add the onions and garlic and sauté in the bacon fat until limp and golden. Add the cubes of pork and turn them to brown on all sides. Add the tomatoes; cover tightly and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until pork is tender. Stir in the beans and the beer; cover the skillet and simmer for another 15 or 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

In the Kitchen:

Making any kind of beans is time consuming. However, the advantage of the long cooking time is that if you add too much of one ingredient and not enough of another, there is time to add more of something else to counteract the taste. Cooking is really about making something that tastes good to you and since everyone has a different sense of taste, ingredients can be tweaked to your liking.

I first started off the recipe by soaking the pinto beans in water overnight to rehydrate them. After they soaked, I then removed the shells that floated to the top and strained the beans out of the water. After the beans were ready I sautéed bacon, onions, and minced garlic in a skillet until cooked down and soft. I used minced garlic that comes in a container instead of fresh garlic cloves for convenience.

Once that was cooked down, I added salt pork instead of pork loin. The salt pork is salt cured pork and is made from pork side, belly or back fat. The pieces can vary and may be fatty, lean, or streaky. When the salt pork was finished, I then added 2 cups of chopped tomatoes and beans. I let the beans simmer for awhile and during that time I removed the salt pork, but doing so is optional.

Beer is usually added in this dish to the beans, but it is optional and I prefer to avoid it. Let all the ingredients simmer for 15-20 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. Other seasonings I like to use are garlic salt, Italian herbs, tomatoes, and garlic powder. I’ve noticed that a  lot of Mexican foods are made with ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic and onion which make foods very flavorful and rich. Overall, the recipe turned out really well and I would make it again.

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