Preparation / Directions:
These drunken beans make a great side or supper dish, and also work well for refritos. Plan on a total cooking time of about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The hardness of the water, the altitude, and the obstinacy of the particular beans can all affect the timing.
Pick through the beans and rinse them, watching for any gravel or grit. Soak the beans in water, enough to cover them by several inches, preferably overnight.
Drain the beans, and add them to a stockpot or a large, heavy saucepan. Cover them with the water and beer. Simmer the beans, uncovered, over low heat.
After 1 hour, stir the beans up from the bottom and check the liquid level. If there is not at least an inch more water than beans, add enough hot water to bring it to that level. Simmer the beans another 30 minutes, then check them again, adding water as needed.
When the beans are well softened, add the remaining ingredients, and continue simmering. Cook at least 15 more minutes, keeping the level of the water just above the beans. The beans are done when they are soft and creamy but not mushy, with each bean retaining its shape. There should be extra liquid at the completion of the cooking time, although the beans should not be soupy. If you want the liquid a little thicker, squash a few of the beans in the bottom of the pot with a potato or bean masher.
Serve the beans immediately, or cover them and keep them warm for as long as 1 hour. Or let them cool, and refrigerate or freeze them for later use.