02 June 2015
We've been eating a lot of pinto beans lately. This is a thing that happens when you buy a 5-lb bag of said pinto beans and cook huge batches of them in your pressure cooker on a regular basis, both of which I absolutely do.
Refried beans are already on the table two or three times a week at our house, whether they're made from pintos or black beans. I also recently made a double batch of Good Good Things' bbq pinto bean burgers (along with a vegetarianized batch of Joy of Cooking bbq sauce to put in them). We now have a lovely stock of 11 burgers stashed away in the freezer for future consumption. But I still had quite a few beans in their broth hanging around waiting to be eaten afterward.
We'd more or less exhausted the classics, so I wanted to make something different. Soup is always good. Why not mix up a basic bean soup with the spices usually used in making samosas?
I looked up a couple of samosa recipes and went to town.
This soup is lovely and warming, with a hint of heat that can be increased as much as you like. The garam masala makes it a bit sweet, especially when eaten plain. Add a handful of crackers (or naan, if you're feeling semi-industrious) and a few salad greens, and you have a complete and very satisfying meal. The leftovers freeze very well.
oil of choice
1 large yellow onion
1-2 stalks celery
1-2 boiling potatoes
1 jalapeno or serrano
2 cups cooked pinto beans (in 2 cups of their broth if homemade, drained if not)
2 cups veg broth (+2 more cups if using canned beans)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp amchoor powder (or sub lemon juice)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
1 tsp garam masala
immersion blender or other pureeing device
plain yogurt/sub of your choice and cilantro to garnish
Warm a couple slugs of oil over medium heat in a large soup pot while you chop up your onion, carrots, and celery. When the oil is hot, add the chopped vegetables to the pan along with a shake of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, or until the onion is beginning to turn translucent.
While you're waiting, chop up your potatoes and chile. Then add them to the pot, stir, and continue to cook for another five minutes.
Next, add your pinto beans and broth to the pot. Add all the spices except garam masala (and lemon juice, if you're using it). Bring the pot to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes, or until your potatoes are entirely cooked through. This may take a bit longer if your potato pieces are on the large side.
Take your pot off the heat and puree your soup using an immersion blender. Taste and correct the seasonings. Then return the soup to the heat and cook it down until it reaches your desired texture.
When you're happy with your soup, turn off the heat and stir in your garam masala (and lemon juice). Serve plain, with chopped cilantro, or top with plain yogurt. Voila!
If you want more vegetables, you can saute some peas in olive oil with a little salt and put a big scoop of them over the top of your bowl of finished soup. Or put a handful of spinach or mesclun leaves in the bottom of each bowl before serving. Or have an actual salad on the side! It's all good.
What's your favorite thing to cook with pinto beans?