• Yield: Serves 4

  • Time: 15 min prep, 30 min cooking, 45 min total

These beans, a good salad, and a bottle of beer to wash it all down are about all you need for a comforting Western-style dinner beyond compare.

Just as baked beans are to an Easterner, a bowl of drunken beans, borrachos, is comfort food beyond compare to a Westerner like myself. The measurements and directions are very forgiving, so don't be afraid to improvise and come up with your own tradition.


  • 4 cups cooked pinto, Rio Sape, red Appaloosa, or Anasazi beans, in their broth

  • 1 bottle lager beer

  • 2 slices high-quality bacon, diced

  • 1/2 medium yellow or white onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3 to 4 Serrano chiles, seeded if desired and chopped

  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving

  • Lime wedges for serving


1. In a stockpot over medium heat, warm the beans and their broth. Add the beer and simmer to cook off some of the beer, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is nearly rendered and the bacon is brown, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, and chiles, and sauté over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until wilted and soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked bacon.

3. Add the mushroom mixture to the beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.

4. Serve the beans with warm tortillas and lime wedges.


Vanessa Barrington is a self-taught cook and author. She is author of DIY Delicious and co-author of Heirloom Beans.
Steve Sando is the owner of Rancho Gordo, a company that grows heirloom and heritage varieties of beans. He is the co-author of Heirloom Beans.