A Simple Pot of Pinto Beans

The simple in this title refers to how easy these beans are to cook. When it comes to flavor, you’ll find they’re a lot more complex than canned beans. The olive oil adds a creamy texture to the beans, and makes for a flavorful broth—don’t discard it. The liquid is a great vegetarian broth to use in soups and stews.

1 cup pinto beans, picked over and rinsed

4 cups cold water

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 onion, cut in half

Handful of fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

Generous pinch of sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting. Cover the pot, and let the beans cook at a gentle simmer until tender, 60 to 75 minutes (see note).

Remove the pot from heat and let the beans cool. Transfer to a container with the cooking liquid, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze for up to 2 months.

NOTE: cooking time for beans is dependent on the age of the beans. Older ones will take longer to rehydrate. My experience has been that beans in the bulk section and at farmers’ markets, tend to be younger, and fresher, hence take less cooking time. If you’re using packaged beans from the grocery store, you might want to soak them overnight to help hydrate them before cooking.