At the newly opened Rye in Louisville, Kentucky, chef Tyler Morris champions underrated ingredients. His take on pinto beans, inspired by his time in New Mexico, involves folding the robust legumes together with garlicky kale and spicy adobo sauce. The result, which is finished with lime juice, feta cheese and cilantro, is a dish that celebrates varied textures and flavors. At Rye, Morris uses local butter beans and serves the dish as a side. We also like it as a fortifying stand-alone lunch.
Pinto Beans with Kale and Adobo Sauce
Recipe adapted from Tyler Morris, Rye, Louisville, KY
Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 1½ hours plus overnight soaking
1 pound dried pinto or butter beans
1 medium carrot, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 medium celery rib, sliced into 1-inch pieces
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
5 ounces dried chipotle chiles (12 to 15 chiles)
1 cup water
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, washed and stemmed
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 1 medium lime
½ cup vegetable stock
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh cilantro, stems removed and discarded
1. Make the beans: Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with 6 cups of cold water. Set aside to soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the beans and place in a large stockpot. Add the carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with enough cold water to come three inches above the bean-and-vegetable mixture. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook the beans until they are tender but not exploded, about 45 minutes, depending on the age of the beans. Strain the beans in a fine-mesh strainer, reserving ¼ cup of the liquid. Place the beans on a sheet pan to cool.
3. Pick out the carrots, celery and onion and add a third of the beans to a blender. Add the reserved cooking liquid and blend until a smooth purée forms. Season with salt and fold in the remaining beans. Set aside.
4. Make the adobo sauce: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast the chipotle chiles until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Fill a large bowl with hot water and add the toasted chiles. Soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
5. Make the kale: In a skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add the onions. Cook until tender and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, then add the kale. Cook 4 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock and simmer until tender, about 6 minutes.
6. Drain the rehydrated chiles, discard the soaking liquid and, in a blender, combine the chiles, water, garlic, apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, cumin and tomato paste. Purée until smooth, adding more water as necessary. Season with salt and reserve.
7. To finish: In a medium saucepot set over medium heat, combine the beans, kale, adobo sauce, lime juice and vegetable stock and heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Place into serving bowls, sprinkle with feta and cilantro and serve immediately.