1 can of Pinto beans plus 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausages

Recipe idea sought:

Using those two items as the major sources of bulk and protein in the dish, what do you suggest I should make to serve as the main course for a couple of adults for dinner?

The sausages are raw and in casings, but can be uncased and (obviously) should end up cooked.

Equipment: I have a normal kitchen, with stove and ovens and microwave oven and slow cooker but no pressure cooker or instapot. The cupboards and kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and pantries have what I think is pretty much the ‘normal’ range of condiments, spices, vegetables (frozen and fresh), pastas, canned goods, basic ingredients, whatever. Pretty light on fruit right now, basically only apples and mandarins fresh, some frozen berries, some canned fruits, a small variety of dried fruits.

The future consumers have no known allergies or dietary restrictions, no religious rules to follow.

I’m very vaguely thinking along the ideas of a one-pot mixture, be it casserole or stew or soup, but am open to other ideas. Some weird meatloaf mixture maybe? Some sort of meat pie?

So… what would you create from that beginning?

Actually, I’d also be happy for any other ideas for how to use up pinto beans regardless of other ingredients.

You see, back at the start of the pandemic, when the grocery stores were nearly wiped out by panic buying, the only things left in one aisle were a dozen cans of pinto beans. I snatched up six of them. But the thing is, I’ve never cooked with or, as best I can recall, even eaten pinto beans.

So why did I buy them? Well, I figured Beans is Beans, right? I could always throw then into a chili or something, right? But here we are six months later and all six cans are still on my shelves and I dunno… Panic buying isn’t pretty.

Here’s a recipe I adapted for you from a white bean recipe I like:

-2 cups canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
-6 cups chicken broth (homemade, boxed, Better Than Boullion, your choice)
-sausages, however many you have, sliced in casings
-1 large onion, diced
-2 cups diced carrot
-1.5 cups diced celery
-6 cloves garlic, minced
-cooking spray
-3 bay leaves
-2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
-salt and pepper to taste
-Pinch of chili powder
-Pinch of cayenne pepper
-4 cups raw spinach

In a large pot, spray cooking spray and heat to medium high heat on a regular stove top. Cook the sausage until the edges are crispy and the sausage is heated through.

Add minced garlic, carrot, onion, and celery, along with the rosemary and bay leaf. Saute briefly. Add chicken broth and and drained beans to the pot. Heat to a simmer, then cover and simmer 30 minutes to an hour to blend flavors.

Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and chili powder to taste. Simmer another 15 minutes, or until flavors have melded. Just before serving, drop in the 4 cups of raw spinach and wilt into the soup.

This recipe will make a lot. You can remove and freeze however much you want for another meal down the track before adding the spinach. You can also forego the spinach altogether if you don’t have any on hand, or substitute another wilting green such as collard greens or Swiss chard.

Hope this helps!

A cassoulet variation:



** 1 pound *

dried great northern beans

** 2 1/2 quarts *

unsalted chicken broth (10 cups)

** 3 ounces *

salt pork

** 2 *

duck confit legs
** 8 ounces *

fresh French garlic sausage
** 4 ounces *

boneless pork shoulder or belly

** 4 ounces *

fresh pork skin (optional)

** 3 cloves *


** 1 teaspoon *

ground nutmeg

** 1/4 teaspoon *

kosher salt, plus more as needed

** Freshly ground black pepper*

Got a little bacon? Then you are in business.

I’d make pasta fagiole. Check out Food Wishes on YouTube for a great recipe. I add more crushed tomatoes than broth just because I prefer it that way.

Oh, that sounds excellent! It’s been cold and gray here, so nothing could be better than soup. And I think all I’ll need to pick up is the spinach, and maybe some crusty bread. Or should I make cornbread to go with?

Good idea, but no duck, and very little pig products on hand, so I’ll to try that later on. BTW, have the rest of you been seeing random but frequent shortages of pork type things? One week there will be absolutely no prepackaged sliced ham. The next week there’ll be some, but not like usual, but on the other hand there will be virtually no bacon. Is that just us?

Another good suggestion, thanks. Hey, I’ve got SIX cans to get through. :slight_smile: Not familiar with that YouTube channel, will check it out.

BTW, do you think pinto beans could be made into a sort of ‘traditional’ baked beans? The kind with a brown sugar/molasses/tomato-y sauce?

You could.

Pinto beans once cooked and mashed are also what becomes the “refried beans” famous in Mexican cookery. Lots of ways to grab that hint and run with it in a non-sugary direction.

Definitely yes. I do that all the time.

It is a very warming soup. :slight_smile: Based on your OP, I figured you were pantry-cooking so I tried to adapt a recipe that didn’t require a lot of shopping (if any). Tempting though @DrDeth’s recipe is, my own pantry is fresh out of duck confit legs or fresh French garlic sausages – to say nothing of fresh pork skin. Mon Dieu! At least it’s optional.

I agree that @MikeG’s pasta fagiole is an excellent suggestion! Also a pantry-friendly recipe.

As for French bread or cornbread, I guess that’s a personal preference. I like it with French bread.

A variation is to sub well-chopped kale in place of the spinach, though it may take longer to cook. Similar to a Portuguese kale soup.

You dont actually need the duck. Some recipes dont use it.

Get two pounds of bacon and make some beenie-weenies.

KALE!!”, in William Shatner’s voice from Star Trek, “The Wrath of Kale.”

Just reporting in: the soup was excellent! As suggested I froze about half of it pre-spinach, and there is still enough left over from dinner to serve as lunch in a day or two.

So…do I count that as one can used up? Because, really, I just transferred 1/2 can from pantry to freezer, and right now about another 1/4 of the can is waiting in the fridge. :wink:


That was what I was thinking as well.

Or maybe something pretty much like @Aspenglow’s recipe, but without the Mexican-ish cayenne and chili powder, and with oregano and thyme instead.

Bummer I missed an opportunity to pimp my favorite way to eat beans (aside from Chili). Santa MAria Style Pinquito beans (Pinto work just fine)

I’ve still got FIVE cans, you know. And those sound interesting, but maybe I’ll wait til next week for the next bean feast.

I’m glad you enjoyed the soup! And I’m sorry, I should have said to use a can of pinto beans instead of 2 cups. Honestly, I never keep a quarter cup or can of anything around – I just toss it into the mix. :slight_smile:

Did you go with the French bread or the corn bread?

@bump, the rosemary and celery in the recipe keeps it from tasting “Mexican-ish.” The tiny amounts of chili powder and cayenne pepper don’t impart an overwhelming flavor, only a little richness and heat. Just so’s you know.

@Oredigger77, I love Santa Maria Style Piquinto beans, and I’m a big fan of Jocko’s, too! Always stop there for one of their steaks when I’m in town. Thanks for reminding me how long it’s been since I’ve had one. :cow:

There’s a restaurant here that makes the best goddam pinto beans I’ve ever had, though. They are so simple, just… beans. Not refried, not fancified in any way. I honestly don’t know what they do to them to make them so addictive. Maybe something in the simmering liquid, maybe a combination of seasonings, I just don’t know. But now I’ve had them, I’ll crave them for the rest of my life. They’re perfect. Wish I had the recipe to pass along, though I’m pretty sure they don’t use canned beans to make them.

Jocko’s is great. My parents lived in Nipomo for a decade after I graduated high school. I prefer the Hitching Post during to ambiance and before it moved I preferred the Far Western to Jocko’s for quality and price. I am planing on stealing everything about Jocko’s for my steak house / distillery concept for my next start up.

LOL re Jocko’s ambiance. Definitely lacking, but the food makes it worth it. The Hitching Post was always nice for ambiance, but then it got crazy after Sideways.

Your new start up will do well if you can duplicate Jocko’s food: Simple but fantastic. :slight_smile: