Smoked turkey adds tremendous flavor to these beans. Pick the meat from the bones after the beans are cooked and save it for another use, such as turning the leftovers into a hearty chili.
Make Ahead: The beans need to start with an overnight soak. The dish can be completed up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the chopped cilantro leaves after the beans have been reheated, just before serving.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, such as Goya brand
- 4 cups water, plus more for soaking the beans
- 16 ounces store-bought chunky salsa, such as Newman's Own brand
- 1 chipotle en adobo, such as La Costeña brand, chopped (smoked jalapeño peppers in a tomato-based sauce)
- Stems and leaves from a small bunch of cilantro, rinsed well and chopped (1/2 cup each, kept separate)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 smoked turkey wing (including tip), separated at the joints
Place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water; soak overnight. Drain and rinse, discarding any foreign matter.
Place the soaked beans in a large casserole or Dutch oven. Add the salsa, chipotle pepper, the 4 cups of water, chopped cilantro stems, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Add the turkey wing parts, pushing them down gently into the beans to submerge them.
Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are soft and cooked through.
Remove from the heat. Transfer the turkey parts to a plate to cool, discarding the wing tip.
Transfer 2 cups of the beans and some of their liquid to a blender; remove the center knob on the lid and place a dish towel over the opening (this will prevent steam from forcing off the lid while the beans are pureed). Puree on low speed, then increase to high speed until smooth.
Stir the puree into the beans in the pot; this will thicken the dish slightly.
Pick the meat from the turkey parts (discarding all skin) and either add it to the beans or reserve it for another use. Add the chopped cilantro leaves just before serving.
From columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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