Maybe you look at this with a skeptical eye and think, “Hmm, that looks a lot like a refried bean soup.” Or maybe, like me, you look at it and think the very same thing followed up by “and it looks delicious.” Let me tell you, it IS delicious – full of tender pinto beans, smoky bacon, and a little bit of a kick, it’s a soup that you won’t soon forget.
This is more or less a soupified version of borracho beans, or drunk beans, where pinto beans are simmered in dark Mexican beer to lend them some flavor. Here that beer is coupled with some chicken broth as well as some tomatoes, green chiles, and a little bit of chipotle pepper too so it’s not all that drunken, but still has some nice beer flavor to it.
But mostly it’s all about the beans. Well, the beans and the combination of smoky bacon, because what goes together better than beans and bacon? Bacon makes friends easily but those two are bosom buddies.
And this isn’t a recipe where you have to worry about soaking beans or lugging out your pressure cooker. Since it’s based on canned beans, there’s no extra work involved and it’s very quick to make. Like thirty minutes, tops, and it has such great flavor. Beans really are the magical fruit.
Mexican Pinto Bean Soup
10m prep time
20m cook time
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 white onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (12 oz) bottle Mexican-style beer
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 2 (10 oz each) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 2 (14 oz each) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium heat. Once crisp, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate but keep drippings in pot.
- Add onion to pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add beer and deglaze pot, scraping up any browned bits form the bottom. Stir in the broth, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, green chiles, diced tomatoes, beans, and chipotle pepper and stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and let cook 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add more broth or water if needed. If desired, puree part of soup with an immersion blender for a thicker consistency.
- Stir in cooked bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Pressure Cooking Today.