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Beer-Baked Beans

Cleaning out garages is an awful job, and I put it off until mine was so overstuffed I couldn't jam in anything more. But there are rewards too, like finding old kitchen treasures and remembering the wonderful food associated with ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours plus 8 hours soaking | Serves 8
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 8 cloves garlic, divided
  • 2 Anaheim chiles
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil or bacon drippings
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup beer (not dark beer)

Step 1Wash the beans and soak them overnight in water to cover.

Step 2The next day, drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with water to cover generously and 4 cloves of garlic. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat and cook, partially covered, until the skins wrinkle, about 1 hour.

Step 3To roast the chiles, hold them with tongs directly above a gas flame, turning until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes, or place them beneath the broiler. When charred, put the chiles in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, then chop the chiles. Set them aside.

Step 4Mash the remaining 4 cloves of garlic in the salt until dissolved to a paste. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onions and garlic paste and cook until the onions are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chiles and cook until the tomatoes are softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 5Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 6Remove 1 cup of beans with a little of the cooking liquid and mash thoroughly. Drain the remaining beans, reserving the liquid, and place in a bean pot or deep casserole. Stir in the mashed beans, the onion mixture, beer and 1 cup of the reserved liquid.

Step 7Bake until the beans are very tender, adding the reserved liquid as needed to keep them from drying out. Accompany with separate bowls of chopped onion and cilantro to add as desired.

Note: Another handwritten recipe produced this dish. The original suggests serving the beans topped with chopped onion and cilantro. Early cooks boiled beans until the skins wrinkled before baking them. The way to tell when this stage was reached was to pick up a few beans in a spoon and blow on them. Old editions of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book emphasize that these blown-on beans should be thrown away.
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