This is Mexican comfort food at its most delicious. Hearty cranberry beans cooked in tequila and green chiles are served atop a bed of Mexican rice and then topped with queso fresco and quick-pickled onions.
Can we just say a collective hallelujah that Cinco de Mayo is falling on a weekend this year??
Mostly because MARGARITAS.
(Need I say more? My alcohol tolerance these days is approximately one sip before I fall off my chair giggling. #thisis31)
But alllllsssooooo because I have discovered THE recipe you need to make in celebration this year and it requires a bit of legwork not fit for a weeknight meal.
Hello cranberry beans cooked in TEQUILA and then topped with queso fresco and quick-pickled onions. Oh, and there’s Mexican rice too!!!
And it’s ALL made in the oven with just a teensy bit of hands on stove time.
Guys. This is true love.
You know those little sides of pinto beans and rice that come with pretty much every meal at a Mexican restaurant??
This is the ULTIMATE of that. Like, it’s what you always wished those tasted like.
What you always knew they could taste like if only someone put in a little bit of effort, not just afterthought.
All in all they are super easy to prepare, they just take a little bit of extra time because both the beans and the rice are started on the stovetop but then do the bulk of their cooking in the oven. So it’s mostly hands off time.
Perfect for double fisting margs. Or playing with your toddler (while double fisting margs???).
I’m going to stop saying margs now.
- 1 lb dried cranberry (or pinto) beans, soaked in cold water overnight
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp paprika
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup tequila
- 5 cups water
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup canned chopped green chiles
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
- 1 recipe for quick pickled onions
- 1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 1 onion, trimmed and quartered
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ tsp salt
- lime wedges, to serve
- Drain and rinse the soaked cranberry beans.
- Heat oven to 350F. In a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 tsp of salt to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, paprika, cumin seeds, and oregano. Saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in the tequila and let simmer for 30 seconds or until mostly evaporated. Add in the water, sugar, bay leaf, and beans. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and and transfer it to the oven. Cook until the beans are tender, about 75 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
- Add the green chiles to the pot and stir to combine. Remove the cover and place the pot back in the oven. Cook for another 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve over rice and top with queso fresco and pickled onions.
- While the beans cook, make the onions. Combined all of the ingredients in a bowl, tossing to combine. Allow to sit while the beans cook, at least an hour. These can also be prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Combine the tomatoes and onion in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a measuring cup and spoon off any extra liquid until the mixture is only 2 cups. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the rice to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium and stir in the garlic and jalapenos. Cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Pour in the pureed tomato-onion mixture, vegetable broth, tomato paste, and salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, cover the post and transfer to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from the oven and let the pot sit, covered, for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with lime wedges to flavor.
More Cinco de Mayo inspiration: