I have a short head note for today’s recipe because I’m writing it while on the road…in Maine, as far away from the Southwest as you can get and still be in the continental United States.
I love bean soup in all its forms. I love the cooking of the American Southwest and Mexican North – the Norteno borderlands between the two countries, where cooking traditions have been mingling for centuries. I picture this recipe as what happens when an American cowboy cook and a Mexican vaquero cook meet on the trail and swap notes about what their respective cowboys want to eat…if I went back in time and handed them an electric pressure cooker.
Video: Pressure Cooker Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup (2:03)Print
Pressure Cooker Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup recipe – a pot of beans from the Southwest, in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.
- 1 pound pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and diced (remove the seeds to cut the heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 cups water
- 14.5-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- Salt and 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper to taste
- Minced green onion
- Diced onion
- Thin-sliced jalapeño
- Tortilla chips
- Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the pinto beans, removing any broken beans, stones, or other non-bean material. Rinse the beans and set aside.
- Saute the onions, garlic, and jalapeños: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over sauté mode until the oil is shimmering. (Use medium heat for a stovetop PC). Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeño, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté the onions and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Toast the spices, then add the beans and water: Make a hole in the center of the onion mix and add the chili powder, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let the spices sit to toast for 1 minute, then stir into the onions. Stir in the pinto beans and pour in the 6 cups of water.
- Pressure Cook the soup for 40 minutes with a quick pressure release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes in an electric pressure cooker (or 35 minutes in a stovetop PC). Quick release the pressure in the pot.
- Simmer the tomatoes, then serve: Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot. Stir in the can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, set the cooker back to sauté mode adjusted to high and bring to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes to heat up the tomatoes. Stir in 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, then taste and add salt and more pepper if needed. (I usually add another teaspoon of fine sea salt – this much soup needs extra salt.) Serve, passing the garnishes at the table.
- If you want a richer soup, substitute chicken broth (preferably homemade) for some or all of the water.
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooking
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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