Monday, January 11, 2010

Pinto Bean Soup

This recipe is a family favorite and is very easy to make. It is nearly meat free, and can be made so by substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth. Since beans are so inexpensive, this recipe is very economical.
Another plus is that it can be made several ways. I usually quick-soak the beans and then pressure cook them for 25 minutes in fresh water. At this point they are cooked and ready to be placed in the crock pot. I mash about half of them using a potato masher or immersion blender, then I proceed with the recipe. Another option is to soak the beans overnight, drain the water then start them cooking on low in the morning, adding the other ingredients that morning and letting it cook all day. Both methods work well.

3 cups of dried pintos, rinsed, soaked and cooked
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 med red pepper, cored, chopped*
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 quarts of chicken broth
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T chili powder(if its a strong, hot chili powder(like chipotle)-more if it isn’t)
1 T cumin
1 T liquid smoke
2 T hot pepper sauce

Put cooked pintos in the crock pot on low, reserving the cooking liquid. Mash about half of them(I used a potato masher).

In a small pot on the stove, heat the oil and saute the onion, celery and red pepper. When almost tender, add the chopped garlic until lightly browned. Add this mixture to the pintos. Add the chicken broth** to the crock pot along with the apple cider vinegar, chili powder, cumin, liquid smoke and hot pepper sauce. Let it simmer*** for the rest of the day. You can salt this to taste once the beans are tender. Watch it toward the end of the day, adding liquid if it gets too thick or starts to burn. Serve with grated cheddar and tortilla chips.

*You can use 1/2 cup dried chopped red pepper. I dry many peppers in the summer and use them in this recipe. Simply add them to the pintos without sauteing.

**At this point you can add about 2 quarts of chicken broth. If you do not have broth water is fine or the reserved liquid from cooking the pintos can be used. You can also use some chicken bouillon cubes to add flavor if desired.

***In my crock pot, for it to simmer, I use the low setting. In some crock pots, this may require the warm setting.

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