16 oz. of dried pinto beans
6 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 15 oz. can of tomatoes (or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup of water
6 cups of beef broth
Salt and black pepper to taste
Soak the beans covered in water—either overnight or the quick soak method in which you place the beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat and let sit for one hour.
Drain the soaked beans.
In a cast-iron skillet heated up to medium high, cook the anchos on each side for a couple of minutes (or until they start to bubble and pop), turn off the heat and fill the skillet with warm water. Let them sit until soft and rehydrated, which should happen after half an hour or so.
In the pot you’ll be cooking your beans, heat up a teaspoon of canola oil and cook the onions for ten minutes on medium. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Throw the cooked onions and garlic in a blender and add the tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, oregano, water and hydrated ancho chiles. Puree until smooth.
Add the pinto beans and beef broth to the pot and stir in the chile puree. On high, bring the pot to a boil and then cover; turn the heat down to low and simmer for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. At this point, I check my beans for tenderness as depending on the freshness of the beans I find that the cooking time can be as short as two and a half hours and as long as four hours. When you’re satisfied that the beans are done, salt and pepper to taste.
Feeds four to six.
Notes: If you can’t find dried ancho chiles, you can substitute either ancho chile powder or regular chili powder. I’d use 1/4 of a cup. These are not fiery beans, but if you want a bit more heat I’d throw in a bit of Cayenne. And I always add a pinch of baking soda to my soaking beans to help with digestion issues. You may do the same.