How to Make Pinto Bean Soup

How to Make Pinto Bean Soup

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  1. A staple in many cultures for millennia, beans come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and flavors that share one excellent quality: they are highly nutritious, providing a considerable amount of protein as well as essential vitamins (B vitamins in particular) and iron. They contain no cholesterol, but for those of you who—like me—don’t shy away from cholesterol and even seek it out, my recipe will provide the indispensable cholesterol-rich fats that you crave.

    Pinto bean soup can be served hot or cold as a side dish as is, or you can use a potato masher to pulverize them and cook them a second time to make refried beans, which will compliment any Mexican or other Latin American dish (don’t forget the spicy salsa!). When I make burritos, I add the bean soup without altering it, as it is thick enough not to soak the tortilla. Any way you serve it, your guests will love these beans; however, they should all refrain from smoking after the meal, which brings me to my next point.

    Due to their gaseous consequences, beans have attained a bad reputation in much of America, but I love them if cooked properly. One of my keys to success is using a Presto tabletop Multi-Cooker, but you can get good results using a medium covered pot. You can make bean soup without the bacon fat for a low-calorie recipe, though I have found that they cook better and more evenly with the fat added. In addition, it enhances the flavor, for “fats are the vehicle on which flavor flows” (paraphrased after words of wisdom spoken by Reese, the worst of all misfits on one of my favorite TV shows, Malcolm in the Middle; and, like it or not, he was right—or at least the writer who provided the line was correct). After much experimentation, I discovered that the key to good bean soup is simplicity, so enjoy it with someone you love… preferably in a well-ventilated area.

    For this, you will need:

    • 2 cups pinto beans
    • 1-2 Tbs. bacon fat
    • Filtered water
    • ½ head of garlic, peeled and minced fine
    • ¼ large onion, any type, minced fine
    • 1-2 jalapeno peppers (depending on desired heat), minced fine; (*optional*)
    • Salt to taste

     The procedure:

    1. Soak the beans overnight at least, preferably for 24 hours. Add water as needed to keep them submerged.

    2. Over high heat, add the bacon fat, at least a quart of water and the beans to the pot; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a mild simmer. Add more water if necessary to keep the level about 2 inches above the beans.

    3. Cover and cook pinto beans for at least 2-3 hours until tender. Add water as needed to maintain a 2-inch level over the beans. Stir them every 15 minutes or so.

    4. Check the beans often. When they are just tender, add the garlic, onion and jalapeno (if desired). Continue simmering for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring frequently. Do not add any more water.

    5. Add salt to taste.

    NOTES: I tried many times to make the beans without the fat, but they wouldn’t cook properly and tasted bland. It isn’t much fat per serving; live with it!

    Do not add salt until the beans are cooked; adding salt too early retards to cooking process. Add salt with care; you can’t remove it, but you can always add more.

    I recommend serving the beans with a dollop of a good pureed red salsa and/or sour cream; if you want it soupier, add ½-cup chicken broth. Garnish with fresh cilantro if you like (it’s a classy and tasty touch). The beans will keep in the fridge for at least a week and reheat very well.

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