Pinto Bean Soup with Toasted Jalapeños

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 100 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Toasting fresh chiles and garlic on the stove top until they’re charred and blistered deepens and mellows their strong flavors, coaxing out a subtle sweetness and adding a hint of smokiness to dishes like this soup.


  • 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) chicken broth
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 6 jalapeño chiles
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz./455 g) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 oz./455 g each) pinto beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) cilantro leaves


In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the broth and ham hock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until fragrant, about 1 hour. Discard the ham hock.

Meanwhile, in a small fry pan over medium-high heat, toast the jalapeños and garlic, tossing occasionally, until lightly charred, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Seed and mince 4 of the chiles. Cut the remaining 2 chiles into thin rings. Mince the garlic.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the minced chiles, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander and chili powder and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the ham broth, tomatoes with their juices and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree half of the soup in a blender. Return to the pot. Add the lime juice, 2 1⁄2 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Serve, garnished with the sour cream, toasted jalapeño rings and cilantro. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011)

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