Red Wine Pinto Beans With Smoky Bacon

By Jamelle Bouie Opinion Columnist

All right, so obviously, this isn’t a vegetarian recipe. It’s easy enough to make vegetarian — just omit the bacon. But if you are a meat eater, let me make the case for treating these beans as if they were meat. With the right ingredients and the right technique, I think you can produce a pot of beans that rivals a beef stew. Admittedly, you’ll want to use a good beef stock (I happened to have some beef stock in the freezer) and sauté your vegetables with mashed anchovies. It also wouldn’t hurt to add a few dashes of fish sauce. After the long braise, you’ll have a truly incredible bowl of beans that would go very well with crusty bread and a nice zinfandel. The recipe is from the cooking section of The New York Times.


  • ½ pound smoky bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, more to taste
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)
  • Coarsely grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)


  1. In the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat, brown bacon until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in onion, celery, carrots, garlic and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Drain beans and add to pot along with 1 tablespoon salt. Pour in enough water to just cover the beans (about 7 to 8 cups). Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently until beans are just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, simmer wine until it is reduced to ⅔ cup, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove rosemary branches from bean pot and discard them. Pour wine into beans and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes longer to meld flavors and thicken broth to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired; add more salt and black or red pepper to taste.
recipes/smoky_pinto_beans_with_bacon.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/20 21:52 by mcf
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