What’s Cooking Wednesday with Meg Benjamin



Drunken Beans Edition

The characters in my Konigsburg series (Book 1, Venus In Blue Jeans, has a special Book Bub price) eat and drink a lot. That’s not accidental: eating and drinking have always been a big part of Texas culture, so much so that Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark even wrote a song about the pleasures of Texas cooking. Barbecue plays a big role here, and I’m a big fan of Texas brisket. But what do you serve with your barbecue? Some go with potato salad or cole slaw, but in my family I have to deal with people who hate mustard, pickles, mayonnaise, and raw onions, which sort of cuts back on the possibilities. The answer? Beans.

Now it’s quite possible to serve up a tasty bowl of slow-cooked pintos along with your barbecue, maybe throw in a little bacon or a ham hock or two. But my personal favorite is drunken beans, maybe because I spent over twenty years in San Antonio where frijoles borrachos are a menu staple. The pintos here are “drunken” because they’re cooked in beer, but the beer is only part of the equation.

My recipe is based on one from Robb Walsh, the dean of Texas barbecue cooking. His original includes some ingredients like epazote that I omit because they can be hard to find. He also adds canned tomatoes, which I don’t use because they tend to make the beans a little soupy for my taste. Walsh also begins with dried pintos and then soaks and boils them. I do that sometimes, when I manage to remember to put the beans on to soak the day before. But you can also make your drunken beans with canned pintos as I’m doing here.

So here goes.


Drunken Beans

2-3 strips bacon

½ c. chopped onion

1 chopped small tomato

2 T chopped cilantro or to taste

1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper

2 cans pinto beans, drained

1 can dark Mexican beer


Heat a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve bacon drippings in skillet. Heat drippings and add onion. Cook until golden, stirring. Add tomato, jalapeno and cilantro and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in beans and beer; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle chopped bacon on top and serve.


If you decide to go with the dried beans, add the beer when you begin cooking them after the soak. You’ll probably want to add salt, depending on the salt in the bacon and canned beans. Taste and adjust. For the beer, it’s traditional to use a dark Mexican beer like Modelo Negra, but I’ve used lager and it worked fine.


Enjoy with a copy of Venus In Blue Jeans or a copy of Hungry Heart (my barbecue romance). And have a little taste of South Texas.




Pick up Venus in Blue Jeans by Meg Benjamin for FREE!



All bookstore owner Docia Kent wants is a fling. And for her parents to butt out of her life for a while. The Texas Hill Country town of Konigsburg looks like the perfect place to get both. Especially when she gets a look at long, tall country vet Cal Toleffson.

Cal has other plans for Docia. One glance at this six-foot version of Botticelli’s Venus, and he knows he’s looking at the woman of his dreams. Now if he can convince her romance isn’t such a bad idea.

One night of mind-blowing sex isn’t the only thing that leaves them both stunned. With Docia’s bookstore under attack, Konigsburg suddenly doesn’t seem so welcoming.







Meg Benjamin spent twenty-plus years teaching writing and Web design in South Texas before pulling up roots and starting all over again on the Colorado Front Range. Her comic romances are set in the Texas Hill Country and the Colorado Rockies, which has given her the chance to sample some great wine and some wonderful food (research—it’s all research!). Her new Brewing Love series for Entangled has also given her the chance to get some experience with the wonders of Colorado beer (more research, honestly). Although she now lives in the foothills of the Rockies, Meg travels back to Texas regularly to visit her sons and her twin grandchildren. She and her hubs love to travel the back roads of the Rockies and you can find see pics of their adventures on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about Meg’s books, check out her website. Meg loves to hear from readers; contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

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