Although new to many people, these colorful beans date back to the ancient, cliff-dwelling Anasazi Indians. Slightly sweeter than pinto beans, they also tend to hold their shape better when cooked. If not available, substitute pinto beans in this recipe.
When I write “flavored,” I mean it, as I have chosen the chiles that impart the most distinct flavors. The raisiny flavor of the pasilla melds with the apricot overtones of the habanero and the earthiness of the New Mexican chile to create a finely-tuned fiery sipping vodka. Of course, use an excellent vodka like Stolichnaya or Absolut. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
The technique of soaking a food in a liquid to flavor it—or in the case of meats, to tenderize the cut—was probably brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish. A marinade is easier to use than a paste, and when grilling your jerk meats, the marinade can also be used as a basting sauce. “In Jamaica,” notes food writer Robb Walsh, “like Texas barbecue, jerk is served on butcher paper and eaten with your hands.” Serve this version of jerk with a salad and grilled plantains.