Alcohol isn’t a prominent feature of my diet. As a consequence, I seem to periodically accumulate collections of bevies left behind by old roommates, friends and family that eventually become too skunky to serve. Occasional purges are warranted, especially when such hoarders find themselves frequently moving to new homes with a growing, and increasingly unappetizing collection of bottles in tow. However, I can’t bring myself to simply dump the goods down the drain.
A few weeks ago, a band of friends and I – along with a canine compañera – slipped out of the city for a brief, soul-nourishing sleepover at a cabin on Thormanby Island. I agreed to bring some refried beans for the taco potluck we had planned. In the midst of dashing between packing cardboard boxes for an imminent house-move and stirring a giant pot of beans on the stove, I decided to pour my old beer into the steaming pot. The resulting depth of flavour was very satisfying. If one had the luxury of being choosy, I think a dark stout would work particularly well in this recipe (I put a Dos Equi and a disesteemed Colt 45 to good use).
While hiking through a salamander-rich swamp on Thormanby, the forest gifted us with some luscious wild oyster mushrooms to fold into our tacos.
Refried boozy beans (without the refry)
Makes about 11 servings.
- 4 cups dried beans (I used a combo of black beans and Mexican red beans. Pinto would also work)
- 3 large onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 2.5 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp salt
- Two 355-mL cans of beer
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Soak the beans in a large pot of water overnight (or for at least 8 hours). Drain and rinse.
In a large pot, cover the beans with enough water to barely reach their surface. Bring to a boil, and add the onions, garlic, jalapeños, cumin, coriander and salt. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about 30 min, stirring occasionally. Avoid adding water unless necessary.
Pour in the beer and olive oil, and increase heat slightly. Simmer for an additional 15-25 min, or until beans taste tender.
Drain any excess liquid into a bowl, and reserve this liquid for blending. Blend about half of the beans until they reach a coarse paste, and add reserved bean liquid as desired. Stir together the pureed beans with the whole beans.