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7 h 45 m
Lisa Holderness Brown
“This famous soup from the state of Michoacán in Western Mexico is often made with a base of pureed beans along with tomatoes and dried chiles, which bring a lot of the character to the dish. Here we use ancho chiles, which are sweet, earthy and relatively mild. You could also use pasillas, which have a heat level similar to anchos—or, if you like it hot, gaujillos, which also bring some smoky notes to the pot.”
1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons canola oil
1½ cups diced onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
6 cups water
3 dried ancho chiles (see Tip), stemmed and seeded
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Crumbled queso fresco, lime wedges & tortilla chips for garnish
1Drain and rinse beans.
2Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the drained beans and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the beans are tender, 1 to 1½ hours.
3Meanwhile, soak chiles in boiling water until the skins have softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and chop.
4Add the chiles, tomatoes and their juice, salt and pepper to the beans. Puree the soup in a regular blender (in batches, if necessary) until very smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Serve topped with avocado and garnished with queso fresco, limes and tortilla chips, if desired.
Tip: Ancho chiles are dried poblanos—the glossy, dark green chiles traditionally used in chiles rellenos. Anchos have a fruity, moderately spicy and slightly smoky flavor.