06 November 2012

When in Brazil...

...you tend to drink a lot of cachaça, the national rum.  It is delicious in a Caipirinha with sugar and lime juice or on its own while engaged in deep conversations about the meaning of life and all the world's problems. But at some point, it becomes a good idea to refuel with some protein to avoid alcohol poisoning. Like coddle in Ireland  or eggs here in the States, Brazilians have a lovely tradition of making a big pot of bean soup to help shake off the hangover and regain your strength after a particularly important night of world problem-solving.  This recipe is my version, with more flavoring in it than what I have been served (and yes, the addition of beer was mine, not native). I think it works anytime you need some comfort and fortitude. 

Pinto Soup

Serves 4-6

2 cups dry pinto beans
½ cup cooked pasta
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves
½ onion
1 carrot, peeled
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Teaspoon salt
6 oz. beer
Salt and pepper to taste
Pico de gallo and lime wedges, for serving

Soak beans overnight. Drain, rinse, and place beans along with bay leaf, garlic, onion, carrot, oregano, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt into a pressure cooker or large pot.  Cover with water and cook for 20 minutes in pressure cooker or about 1 ½ hours over medium heat on the stove (until beans are tender).

Remove bay leaf and transfer cooked bean mixture to a blender; blend until smooth. Return to the pot and add the beer and salt and black pepper to taste.  Stir in pasta at the last minute and heat thoroughly.

Serve with pico de gallo and lime wedges.