Seared Beef Filets with Drunken Beans and Smoky Tomatillo Sauce

  • Active Time 45m
  • Total Time 1h 35m

Serves 4

The poetically named "drunken" beans are called so because they are cooked in beer, a recipe derived from northern Mexican cooking, where they are called "borracho" beans. The chipotle chiles give the sauce its deliciously smoky quality. Tomatillos are common ingredients in southwestern cuisine, and they are widely available in cities around the country that have Hispanic or Caribbean populations. Tomatillos look like green tomatoes and belong to the same family, but they are more closely related to the Cape gooseberry, which also has a thin, papery, parchmentlike covering. The citrusy green apple flavor of tomatillos is transformed by blackening them, giving them robust, complex tones. If you use less water in the sauce to leave it thicker, you can make a great dipping salsa for chips.


  • For Beans:
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, picked through, rinsed, and soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • 5 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2/3 cup (I/2 bottle) dark beer, such as Negra Modelo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • For Sauce:
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 large clove garlic, roasted
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • For Steaks:
  • 4 filet mignon steaks, about 6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 ounces queso fresco or other dry cheese such as Monterey Jack, grated
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish


TO PREPARE BEANS: Drain and rinse the pintos and transfer to a saucepan. Add enough water to the saucepan to cover the beans by 1 or 2 inches. Bring the beans to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cook at a low simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the beans are just tender. Add more water as the beans cook to keep them covered. Drain the beans and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and serrano chiles, and cok over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, cooked beans, and beer. Season with salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid thickens. Keep warm and stir in the cilantro just before serving.

TO PREPARE SAUCE: Blacken the tomatillos under a broiler or over a gas flame, turning frequently; do not overblacken or they will become bitter. Coarsely chop the tomatillos, and place in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup of water and puree until smooth. Add the chipotle chiles and cilantro, and pulse until smooth. Add a little more water to thin if necessary. Just before serving, transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat through.

TO PREPARE STEAKS: Season the filets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy sauté pan or skillet. Add the filets to the hot pan and sear over high heat for about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare or about 4 minutes per side for medium. Remove the filets from the pan and keep warm.

TO SERVE: Soften the tortillas by placing them in a shallow bowl of warm water for a few seconds. Place the tortillas, one by one, in the same pan used for cooking the filets and warm them over medium heat, turning once. Place 2 tortillas on each warm serving plate. Spoon the beans in the center of each tortilla and place the seared filets next to the beans. Spoon the sauce generously over the filets and sprinkle with the cheese. Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 5706

nutrition information per serving

769 calories; 29g total fat; 115mg cholesterol; 243mg sodium; 72g carbohydrates; 18g fiber; 54g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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