Drunken Pintos: Eat Responsibly.
It's only day three of my grocery challenge, and I'm feeling the heat. I thought I had yellow onions, and it turns out I only have red. That's a real puzzle, as I usually keep a three month's supply just in case the onion crop goes belly up.
You just never know.
Last night I soaked some pinto beans and today I simmered them all afternoon. Good thing, since dried beans should ideally be used within 6 months. My recipe calls for beer, and not just any old American piss either. You must use a fine English ale, bottle conditioned, with a smooth, foamy head.
Okay, I'm full of crap. Use a dark beer; Guinness will do. Just don't use Miller. Because you'll want to drink the rest.
And about those onions...I normally use sweet yellow onions (Vidalia or Maui are excellent, if they're in season) but the red I was forced to use weren't bad. They must be caramelized, cooked over low heat for almost as long as the beer is conditioned...okay, maybe an hour. Forty-five minutes will do in a pinch.
But do call them "onion confit" when they're done. It just sounds better.
Drunken Pintos with Lime and Onion Confit
1 lb pinto beans, rinsed, sorted, and soaked overnight
half pint English ale
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Lime wedges, for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow or red onions, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Cover beans with water and bring to boil. Lower heat, and simmer, for 2 hours, longer at higher altitudes. Add water as needed to avoid drying out.
Taste beans after an hour and a half to determine if they’re soft. (If not, plan on cooking longer before adding salt.) About thirty minutes before serving, add beer, if desired, and lime juice, and continue to cook. About ten minutes before serving, when beans are completely tender, add salt and pepper. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.
To make confit, heat olive oil in heavy saute pan and add onions. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, add sugar , salt and vinegar and continue to cook 20 to 30 minutes more. Onion should begin to turn dark, and when no white parts are left they're done.
Serve pinto beans in bowls or on a plate, adorned with confit and a lime wedge.
Note: Pick over dried beans carefully before soaking. I found a piece of dried corn in mine, and often there are small clods of dirt, which can ruin things altogether. Remove any shrunken or dried beans. I like to comb through them with a spatula to see what's there besides beans. Soak in enough water to cover, with an inch or so to spare; they will expand overnight. The next day, pour out the soaking water and add fresh water to cook.