Some time ago, I bookmarked this recipe and wanted very desperately to make it, but never had the time. It was hot today (over 80°), but in a few days the temperature is expected to drop almost thirty degrees. So I figured that today would be a good day to make it because like all bean soups, it is probably better a day or two down the road.
Unfortunately I didn’t have canned black beans, fresh garlic, or canned green chilies. So I substituted dried pinto beans for the black beans, granulated garlic for the fresh garlic, and guajillo chili powder for the canned chilies. I also wanted to avoid using canned beef broth, and just used water instead.
- 1 T oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 t salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t dry oregano leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 t granulated garlic
- 1/2 t guajillo chili powder
- 8 cups water
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
- In a large pot, heat the oil to smoking. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the onion and continue cooking until the vegetables are softened, approximately ten or fifteen minutes.
- Add the spices and salt and continue cooking, stirring all the while, another five minutes.
- Add the water and bring it to a boil. Add the rinsed beans, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover loosely with a lid and simmer for one hour or more, until the beans are tender. Add more water if necessary.
- Remove the bay leaf and allow the soup to cool slightly. Blend in a blender or food processor, or better yet, with an immersion blender.
I really wanted an easy to make dish with ingredients I had on hand. Pinto beans taste quite different from black beans and have a slightly different texture, so it’s not quite the soup I had imagined (I will still make that one someday), but it’s still quite tasty*. Lots of good vegetables and plenty of fiber. I omitted the lime juice simply because I didn’t have any, but that would add a nice piquancy if added just before serving.
This didn’t turn out exactly like I imagined the original recipe would. Pinto beans have a delightfully smoky flavor which is quite distinct from black beans. In fact, this soup bears an amazing resemblance to refried beans. Incredibly delicious refried beans. If I don’t have black beans next time, this is what I would do differently:
- I would add two cups more of water, so that it has a consistency more like soup and less like refried beans. This is especially important the next day.
- I would add more spices, including fresh garlic.
- I would add a bell pepper or a poblano pepper to the vegetables.
- I wouldn’t puree it so much, but would leave it a bit chunky.
- I would take pictures. This looked absolutely beautiful just after I added the beans and water.
I will definitely make this again, hopefully with something other than pinto beans. That reminds me that I have some peruano beans that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with—this might be just the perfect recipe.
*I watched this episode of Star Trek: The Original Series while I was cooking this. It might just be my imagination, but I think Star Trek makes all foods taste better. Geek on!