Ancho Pinto Bean Soup
This pinto bean soup gets its rich, hearty flavor from an ancho chile puree. The ancho is a dried poblano pepper. As the poblano is left to ripen on the plant, it develops a sweet flavor with mild to medium heat. Dried, it looks dark in color, wrinkled, and heart-like in shape. When rehydrated, the chiles and their cooking liquid become the base for this pinto bean soup.
We like to use the quick soaking method when cooking beans. You will find the instructions for both quick and overnight soaking methods on the bag of beans. Use the method of your choice. Below, we have given the directions for the quick soak.
Ancho Pinto Bean Soup
- 1 pound pinto beans
- 3 ancho chiles
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken broth
- One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Sour cream, lime wedges, avocado, and cilantro leaves, for serving
DirectionsSoak and Cook the Beans
Sort the beans in a colander and remove any rocks or debris. Rinse under cold running water. Place the beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the water to a rapid boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let the beans stand for 1 hour. Drain in a colander and rinse with water.
Return the beans to the pot and add enough fresh water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, set the lid slightly ajar, and reduce the heat to low or medium-low. Makes sure it still has a steady bubble. Cook about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender. You can use the back of a spoon to push a few beans into the side of the pan. They should mash easily when done. Drain the beans and set aside.
For the Chile Puree
Heat the chiles on a hot, dry pan set over medium-high heat, pressing down lightly with a metal spatula until they’re soft and fragrant. Flip them over and do the other side. This should take about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove the chiles to a plate and let them cool enough to handle. Open them up and remove the stems and seeds. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the chiles. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Place the chiles and the cooking liquid in a blender and puree until smooth. Set a large mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the puree through, scraping and pressing the mixture against the bottom and sides until only the solids are left. Discard the solids. Set the puree aside until ready to use.
For the Soup
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onions and green bell pepper, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 to 40 seconds. Clear a spot in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste; stir another minute or so until it’s brick-like in color. Add the broth, beans, chile puree, diced tomatoes, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover the pan, turn up the heat slightly to medium-low (enough to keep a lively simmer) and cook uncovered another 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and 2 tablespoons lime juice.
Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, avocado, and cilantro leaves, if desired.
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