I’ve most likely waxed lyrical on here about chipotle peppers before, but I don’t think I’ve ever truly appreciated them quite so much as when I saw them on a grocery store shelf for the first time in months. It’s been much easier to find some ingredients here in Montevideo than in Buenos Aires, despite it being a smaller city – I’m not positive on why, but I suspect it’s most likely because of the strict regulations and high taxes on imports into Argentina. Whatever the reason, I finally had my hands on a can of smoky chipotle peppers in spicy adobo sauce, and I knew I had to make good use of them. With my recent love of cooking up dried beans, it made sense to use these wonderful peppers as the flavor backbone for a pot of pinto beans. And they did not disappoint, imbuing each creamy bean with smoke and spice.
Basic Pinto Beans
Yield: 6 – 7 cups cooked beans
- 1 Tbsp olive oil*
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 – 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers can)
- 1 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water, then drained**
- 6 cups water
- salt and pepper, to taste
*If you’re not a vegetarian and you have some on hand, use lard or bacon fat.
**Alternatively, you can cover them with boiling water, and soak for an hour or two.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then sautee 1 onion, diced until softened and translucent, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add 4 – 6 cloves garlic, minced, 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced, and 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers can), and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add 1 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water, then drained and 6 cups water, and bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and let simmer until the beans are softened and fully cooked, about 1 to 2 hours. Skim any white foam off the top, then stir occasionally, adding extra water if needed to keep the beans covered by about an inch.
- Stir in salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (or frozen for longer).