Chorizo Pinto Beans are excellent as a meal, side dish or topping for nachos. Made with real chorizo, these slow cooked beans are packed with flavor and great for a crowd!
Beans made from scratch take time, but the reward is beans that are flavored with aromatics like onions, garlic, and oregano. This recipe makes pinto beans so yummy that they can be served as a main course over rice, an especially welcome dish for cool fall nights. But this dish is also great as a side to any meal. The recipe makes a whole dutch oven full, so you can also freeze some for later to serve on nachos on game day!
This recipe starts with cured Chorizo, a sausage from Spain or Portugal made of pork and seasoned with paprika. Although many stores carry carry fresh sausage called chorizo, its not what you want for this recipe. You need to find the real deal, the hard dried stuff you get at the deli counter. If you live in the country like me, you may have to call around to find authentic chorizo, which isn’t cheap at $10 a pound, but I promise you that the $5 and the time you’ll spend locating it will be worth it. This is no ordinary pot of beans!
I know you’re thinking “how much time does this recipe take”? Slow and steady wins the race, right? But you won’t be laboring for hours, the prep is fast but it cooks on low heat in the oven for 2-3 hours.
There is no shortcut to intensely flavorful beans. That’s because dried beans have very little flavor on their own, so they need to be re-hydrated with yummy ingredients like onions, garlic, sweet peppers and fragrant spices like cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. But the secret to these Chorizo Pinto Beans is really the chorizo, which makes the dish extra hearty. You saute all the veggies and sausage in a dutch oven until the onions are soft and starting to caramelize, then add the spices, beans and stock and hours later you have magic beans that Jack would covet.
Now, I know many of you readers are extremely busy, so slow food doesn’t seem accessible. Because I love you all so much, I tested a batch in the crock-pot, which is a secret weapon for those who don’t have time to babysit the oven for hours on end.
I have good news and bad news for you. We blind-taste-tested our stove/oven and crock-pot batches and the stove version was the hands-down winner for flavor and texture. I found the crock-pot batch to be slightly bitter and Kevin had issues with the texture of the beans. For a time comparison, the stove version took 3-1/2 hours (1/2 hour active time) and the crock pot version took about 8 hours., but I think it could have used an extra hour. I believe the difference in flavor was due to the onions and garlic being thrown in raw rather than being sauteed first. So, my suggestion for anyone wanting to fix it and forget it, saute your veggies first and then add them to the crock-pot and I believe they will be nearly identical to the stove version.
Whew! That’s a long paragraph. Are you still with me?
I hope so, because doesn’t this look good? I’m super excited because the parsley is homegrown! We picked it last week before the freeze and it’s been in a jar of water waiting for me. Perennial herbs are the gift that just keeps giving, so I’m hopeful that the fall won’t be too cold and we’ll get a second harvest for Thanksgiving!
Speaking of the holidays, beans are super great to serve to a crowd. They are filling, go with a variety of foods and are inexpensive. But my favorite part is the smell of the peppers and oregano as these Chorizo Pinto Beans are cooking. Nothing is as inviting as the savory smell of a stew.
- 2 medium onions diced
- 2 red bell peppers diced
- 2 small hot chiles diced fine
- 5 cloves garlic sliced thin
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 TB coarse sea salt
- ½ lb chorizo diced*
- 2 TB canola oil
- 1 TB white wine or white wine vinegar
- 2 lbs pinto beans rinsed, stones removed
- 8 cups water or stock
- Parsley for garnish
- In a large 4-5 quart dutch oven, heat canola oil over medium heat.
- Add in peppers, onions, garlic, chorizo and spices, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
- Sauté until onions are translucent and the chorizo has started to release its oils.
- Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine and scraping the bottom of the pan with spoon.
- Add in beans and water (or stiock) and turn up heat to high.
- Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, give the beans a stir, cover and reduce to a very low simmer, or transfer to an oven on 250°.
- Cook for about 2½-3 hours, stirring and checking the doneness of the beans every half hour.
- Do not let the beans dry out. If all the water is absorbed before the beans are done cooking, add more water a cup at a time.
- Once the beans are tender, the liquid should be thickened like a gravy.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
If you would like to make the beans in a crock-pot, saute the vegetables with the chorizo and spices before adding the ingredients to the crock pot. Cook beans on low for about 8-9 hours, until tender. Keep in mind that crock-pot times will vary.
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