Anasazi Bean Soup

Anasazi Beans are ancient relatives of the Pinto bean, and have been grown in the four corners area (where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexixo meet) since around 130 A.D. The taste is slightly sweet and nutty. I think they are far superior to pinto beans. The color when raw is mottled white and purple. They can be found online and in many grocery stores.

This recipe is flavored with southwestern seasonings. I like to make it as a hearty soup, But if you leave out the meat you can also use some of it for refried beans.

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Recipe

  • 1 lb bag of Anasazi beans
  • 7 cups water (see procedure)
  • 2 tsp ground hot New Mexico red chile
  • 1 tsp ground pasilla or ancho chile (see notes)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 TBS garlic powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 large white or yellow onion
  • 1 TBS salt (to taste)
  • 8 oz (approximately) smoked sausage (optional)

Notes

This recipe assumes a thick soup. You can vary the water amount to make it the consistency you desire. I’ve specified a total of one tablespoon of ground red chile. you can use whatever you like for this. If you can find Chimayo that would be my favorite. But what I can get here is generic New Mexico (hot or mild), ancho, and pasilla negro (all from savoryspice.com). If your grocer carries it you can sometimes find “California” chile, which is the dried red Annaheim, and will work well for a mild heat level. Just please do not use “chilli powder” out of the standard spice section. It has many other spices mixed in and you have no idea what you’re putting in the dish.

The meat is optional but adds a huge amount of flavor into the dish. For this batch I used some home smoked Andouille, but anything that has a nice smokey flavor will work. Some people use a smoked ham hock for a dish like this, but I prefer something I can eat as part of the soup.

Procedure

Rinse the beans in a strainer and place in a large dutch oven (cast iron – plain or ceramic). Cover with 4  cups of water and bring to a boil. While that is coming to a boil dice up the half onion and gather the other spices. Once the beans are boiling add the onions and all the spices except the salt. Again, do NOT salt the beans at this point – it will make the skins tough and undigestible.  Reduce heat and stir to get everything mixed in well, and let it come back to a simmer. Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours (stirring occasionaly). Add the meat and some salt at around the 1 hour mark. taste after about 15 more minute and add salt as needed. Keep in mind that the sausage will have a fair amount of salt that will leach into the beans, so tread carefully to avoid oversalting.

These should take roughly 1 1/2 hours to cook, but it depends on how hard they have simmered and how soft you like them. I’ve shown these topped with some diced onion, or you can top with cilantro. This is a very healthy meal, especially if you omit the meat. Enjoy.

 

 

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