It’s pretty easy to find great tacos in the Valley of the Sun – but what about the side dishes that play supporting roles on a plate of Mexican food? Rice and beans are usually the culprits and are often treated as an afterthought.
At Taco Guild, the borracho (drunk) beans are more than just window dressing – they shine all by themselves. Executive chef Diego Bolanos says the key to preparing beans is to soak them in water for up to three hours before cooking them. If not allowed to absorb water, the beans will burn, he says. Another trick: stir the pot every 15 minutes, “but just a little bit or you’ll start breaking the bean.”
Taco Guild Borracho Beans
- 1 lb. pinto beans or red beans (when beans are cooked you will get 2 lbs. of beans)
- 1 ½ gallons of water
- 1 jalapeno, diced small
- ½ yellow onion, diced small
- ½ celery stick, diced small
- 1 clove garlic, very finely diced
- 2 cans or bottles of dark beer (Taco Guild uses gluten-free beer)
- ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- ½ lb. bacon, optional
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. black pepper, medium grind
- 1 bay leaf
- Cotija cheese for garnishing
- Wash the beans and soak them in water for 1-3 hours before cooking.
- Place the beans in a soup pot and add water and beer. Cook on high for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- While beans are cooking, place jalapenos, onions, celery and bacon (optional) in a sauté pan and cook on medium high for about three minutes until all vegetables are cooked. If using bacon, there’s no need to add oil. If not using bacon, cook with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
- Add the mix of vegetables to the beans and lower the heat to medium. Add salt, pepper and bay leaf and cook over medium heat for 30-45 minutes. Check and stir every 15 minutes. If necessary, add another ½ gallon of water.
- When beans are cooked, put them aside. Taste for seasoning. Before serving, add the chopped cilantro and mix.
- Garnish with cotija cheese.