southwestern pinto bean soup

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Servs: 10

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  • add   3 medium onions, chopped fine
  • add   3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • add   5 garlic cloves, minced
  • add   1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • add   2 cups chicken broth
  • add   1 pound dried pinto beans, picked over
  • add   2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • add   1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • add   a 28- to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and puréed coarse
  • add   2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • add   1/2 cup canned mild enchilada sauce (not salsa), or to taste
  • add   6 cups water
  • add   1 tablespoon chili powder
  • add   *available at Hispanic markets and some specialty foods shops and supermarkets
  • add   1/2 pound cured <I>chorizo</I> (Spanish sausage)*, sliced 1/4 inch thick, if desired


  1. In a bowl soak beans in water to cover by 2 inches overnight or quick-soak (procedure follows) and drain.
  2. In a heavy kettle sauté onions and garlic in oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until pale golden. Add bell peppers and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add drained beans and the 6 cups water and simmer, covered partially, until tender, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  3. While soup is simmering, in a skillet brown chorizo, in batches if necessary, over moderately high heat and transfer to paper towels to drain. Add chorizo to soup with tomatoes, broth, enchilada sauce, and salt to taste and simmer, covered partially and stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Soup may be made 4 days ahead (cool uncovered before chilling covered).
  4. Just before serving, stir in lime juice and coriander.
  5. To quick-soak dried beans:
  6. In a large saucepan combine dried beans, picked over and rinsed, with triple their volume of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook beans, uncovered, over moderate heat 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let beans soak 1 hour.

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