10 April 2014

Crockpot Drunken Beans

This recipe was the first of three new dinners I had planned after I got bored with everything we have been eating. We started out with a winner! There are two reasons that I'm glad this meal was successful. First, YAY a new recipe! Second, given that three new meals planned for one week is a stretch for Shana, since the first one went well, that make her more open to other new meals. In retrospect, I think I get bored with our food options every spring after a winter of heavy flavors and warming meals. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I felt like that because it made me look beyond our normal fare.

This bean dish was simply amazing. I made some slight modifications to a recipe by one of the pillars of vegan food and cooking, Bryanna Clark Grogan. And although it does take a bit more effort than your standard crockpot meal, it's all worth it in the end! The pinto beans are so creamy and the subtle heat and smokiness of the broth/sauce is a perfect complement. What's more, the leftovers the next day are even better! The flavors matured overnight (even more than after a day full of cooking) and a small dish of beans was great as part of my lunch.

Drunken Beans
Slightly adapted from the recipe of the same name in World Vegan Feast, p. 111.
1 lb. dried pinto beans
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 slices vegan bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped
10 ounces beer
3 c. veggie broth
15 ounce can of tomato sauce or puree (unflavored)
1 T. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin

1. The night before, rinse and drain the dried beans, keep them overnight in the fridge in a bowl with at least two inches of extra water above the tops of the beans. Drain them the next morning.
2. In the morning, heat the oils in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, garlic, vegan bacon, and chili until the onion is soft.
3. Meanwhile, boil the beans on the stove for about 10 minutes.
4. Put all ingredients in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours (or on high for 5).

Helpful Hints
  • A number of Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipes in this cookbook call for "dark sesame oil." We found some sesame oil at the store and purchased it, but when we brought it home, it didn't smell any differently than the toasted sesame oil we already had in the cabinet. This leads me to think that "toasted sesame oil" is the US phrase and "dark sesame oil" is the Canadian phrase. It also made me realize that I can buy toasted sesame oil far more cheaply than I had been! 
  • The vegan bacon could certainly be removed from this recipe if you're not a fan of processed fake meats. It simply supports the smokiness of the chipotle pepper, but you could also add 2-3 drops of liquid smoke if you have that around. 
  • Speaking of the chipotle chili, feel free to add more than 1 if you like things spicier. As indicated above, this recipe has a great "warmness" to it. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 chilis, but I'm sure you could add more. Alternatively, while chopping, you can remove as many of the chili seeds as possible to reduce the heat. Unless you can't stand ANY amount of heat, I'd say don't do that. 
  • The beer I used in this recipe was most of a bottle of Dos Equis "Amber." The original recipe calls for any amber beer, including indicating that non-alcoholic beer will also work. 
  • The original recipe calls for a heaping cup of tomatoes with their juice. Tomato chunks are a no-go in this house, so the tomato sauce was my sub. It worked out perfectly. 
  • Finally, to make this more of a meal, we also ate sauteed purple cabbage and some stelline pasta cooked in faux chicken broth then drained.
  • INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS: This can be made easily in the Instant Pot (or similar tool). Do not soak or boil the beans. Saute in the Instant Pot on the saute setting. Add all other ingredients, plus 1 additional cup of broth. Close the lid and make sure it is sealed, then set the timer on the manual setting for 45 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. 
The post "Crockpot Drunken Beans" first appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.


  1. [ Smiles ] Being vegan, I LOVE beans!

    1. They are so delicious and versatile. Yum!