Thursday, 5 November 2009

Ancho chilli kickin' beans

November in the UK brings the Anniversary of the unsuccessful Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Whether you celebrate Guy Fawkes’ Night with fireworks or not, it’s a good time to have a bonfire to clear up the garden; or the allotment plot, and enjoy some belly warming soup. So this is my homely contribution: Pinto bean soup made with a ancho chilli pepper.
A few months ago, my oldest nephew was up for the weekend. He always brings me something, and it is often food related. This time it was three packets of dried Mexican chillies: habernero, chipotle and ancho. Although I was familiar with all, I had never actually cooked with ancho chillies before, so was curious to try it and the best way to was to make some soup. The ancho chilli pepper added a mellow sweetness with a subtle chilli kick.

Pinto Bean Soup with Ancho chilli pepper
2 cups pinto beans*
2 onions finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons of sunflower or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 Ancho chilli
Sea salt
Chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish.
Optional: to serve with soured cream or grated cheddar cheese
Soak the beans overnight, then wash and boil until tender. Drain and set aside. *I don’t have a pressure cooker, so I have to cook the dried pinto beans the traditional way. You can also use tinned pinto beans, I often do.

Heat oil in a large pot and add onion, garlic, spices and dried chilli. Cook until onions are translucent. Then add the cooked pinto beans to the pot, along with 2 ½ pints of water and 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Blend half of the beans and the chilli pepper until smooth and return to the pot. Taste for seasoning, garnish with coriander leaves and serve. Adapted from Deborah Madisons’s Vegetable Soups.


  1. That looks delicious! I've never cooked pinto bean before, I heard if you don't cook them the right way, you might get sick from them so I usually buy tinned pinto beans (it's easier for me). I LOVE that book and I've enjoyed looking and reading all the recipes but I've never cooked anything from that book. I should start cooking some soups now before the cold weather is gone:)

  2. I'd never even heard of ancho chillis... I wonder if there's anywhere round here that stocks them, because I'm always interested in trying new flavours.

  3. Mmm, such a perfect, cozy recipe! I love your double duty allotment-clearing and celebratory bonfire! So awesome!

  4. Love bean soup!
    This looks delicious.

  5. Oraphan.

    I do tend to cook with beans from a tin, but recently they have became quite expensive to purchase, so I have decided to prepare (some of) them from scratch. If you do it properly, you won't get an upset belly from them. I have only started to cook from the book, so would recommend it to you to have a go especially with the cold weather.

    My nephew got them from a specialist shop in Cardiff, South Wales. I know that you can buy them on-line check out Mine have come from here. But please be aware these dried chillies are quite expensive. My ancho chillies 80g cost £3.25, which I didn't buy - Thanks to my nephew who wanted to treat me.

    I am so happy to read that you like trying new flavours, a girl just like me. I like it!

    Astra Libris.
    Thank you!

    Thanks Michele.

  6. Thanks for the tips, Mangocheeks. I ran out of time for tonight so I'll come back to read your new post tomorrow night:)

  7. I've never tried ancho chillies but that bean chilli sounds perfect for this cold spell! Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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