Pinto Bean Chowder

Growing up the norm in our house was a pot of beans.  Well, not much has changed as I each week make a pot of beans for my family.   Beans aside from being a Hispanic staple are versatile in meal planning.  The possibilities for beans are endless, appetizers, breakfast, brunch, sides, soups and even desserts, yes desserts (more on this later).   As I gaze through any new cookbook my fingers quickly skim the pages for any sign of a new bean recipe.  When I came upon this Pinto Bean Chowder I was intrigued, one associates chowder with seafood, corn or potatoes, but beans..the was no question I had to try this recipe.  The base of the soup is not  milk or cream, beans itself are used which results in a hearty soup.   

Beans are pureed with chicken stock to create a thickening sauce for  the soup.  Corn is blackened then simmered with bacon, onion, bell peppers, carrots and celery.  Jalapenos are added for a kick of heat, not feeling the heat, de seed the jalapenos, add as followed for a slight ting in the background.  The recipe calls for 2 cups of beans, the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate a dwindling pot of beans.  Crunched for time on a busy week, try canned beans.

What Julia Child and Jacques Pepin have done for modern French Cooking, what Diana Kennedy did for Mexican Cooking, Grady Spears has done and continues to do for Cowboy Cooking. What Mark Miller is to Southwestern Cuisine, what Emeril Lagasse is to Modern American Cuisine, Grady Spears is to Cowboy Cuisine. Putting his indelible brand on the genre, he is both creator and charismatic personality, enthralling cooks of all levels of expertise with his endearing, joyous approach to hearty fare. Named one of the Top Five Chefs of 1998 by Restaurant and Institutions, and Rising Star of 1999 by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, Grady’s work has been widely praised in such prestigious publications as The New York Times, Texas Monthly, P.O.V., Martha Stewart Living, Country Homes, Southern Living, and countless others.  Grady a Forth Worth Native, prefers to be called a Cowboy Cook than Chef.

from Grady

Pinto Bean Chowder
Grady Spears with June Naylor
from The Texas Cowboy Kitchen
serves 4 to 6
1 cup Corn, cut fresh from the cob
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 cup diced Bacon
2 Carrots, Diced
4 Celery stalks, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced
2 Yellow Onions, Diced
4 Jalapenos, Seeded and Diced
6 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups Cooked Pinto Beans, drained and divided
2 cups Chicken Stock, divided
Kosher Salt, to taste
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
1. In a large saute pan, cook corn over high heat 4 to 5 minutes, until blackened,  set aside.
2.In the same pan,  heat the oil and cook the bacon over high heat until  it starts to brown.
4. Add carrots,celery, bell pepper, onions, jalapenos, and garlic cooking until they begin to soften.
5. Remove  from heat.
6. In a food processor, puree half the pinto beans with 1/2 cup chicken stock.
7. Add pureed pinto bean mixture, remaining stock and pinto beans to vegetables in the skillet, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Season with salt to taste. Stir in Cilantro, remove from heat and divide among bowls.


  1. says

    Hi Bonnie! I wanted to welcome you personally to the hearth and soul hop! I am now subscribed to your RSS feed. I am a HUGE fan of soup and beans. One of my favorite is Pasta Faggioli, but your bean chowder looks so spicey and good! I will certainly be trying it soon and I love the marvelous idea of pureeing some beans to thicken it! What genius! All the best and thanks for sharing on the hearth and soul hop. Hope to see you again next week! Alex

  2. says

    Just added this to my ‘to try’ file :)

    I’m not used to cooking with beans, but I’ve been trying to eat them more often this winter. They’re cheap and help add variety – important with the limited options of fresh winter produce in my area. Thanks for sharing this :) I bet the jalapenos will warm us up too!

  3. says

    Pinto Bean Chowder? Hmmm… I really like the sound of this. I’m going to try it sometime soon. If I had all the ingredients right now, I’d make it tomorrow. We’re expecting yet another snow storm, so I’ll be home. *sigh*


  4. says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves knowing that i have a container full of beans in the fridge! This chowder sounds so incredibly delicious! Full of flavor and super hearty.

  5. says

    I am ALL over this. Do you have a recipe for bean-only chili? I’ve got a good meat chili, but I’m trying to find a good bean chili for Ben (we got to get his cholestoral down) and all the recipe ones I find are yuppie ones with cinnamon and corn and crap that doesn’t belong in chili.

  6. says

    The east coast has clam chowder, the west coast has their version of clam chowder–it’s about time we have a Texas chowder! I can’t think of a better bean than pintos!

    Growing up, beans were the norm in my house too–pintos in the crockpot with cornbread on the side. It don’t get no better 😉

  7. says

    if i had to pick just one food family to eat for the rest of my days, it’d be beans–i love em. this chowder is deliciously-done, and pretty to boot!

  8. says

    I cannot say I’ve had all that much exposure to pinto beans, and by the looks of this chowder, I’m thinking thats a serious problem that needs to be corrected stat! What an absolutely yummy dish you created.

  9. says

    I missed this one, came here to ask of the tacos and how you prepared them…. I have one cookbook by Grady but I do not have this one, from the sound of this recipe alone, looks like I will be shopping… love everything about it…

  10. says

    Bonnie…as you may know by now…hot peppers don’t dance well in my tummy…sigh. However, I’m never one to turn away an excellent recipe including beans. I need all the iron I can get 😉
    Alright, twist my arm a little and I’ll put a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can’t say I’m not trying to join you at your table. LOL

    Ciao my dear and have yourself a lovely evening,

  11. says

    Never heard of Grady Spears in Germany but of course everyone directly has a picture in mind when cowboy cooking is mentioned. The bean recipe you prepared looks great! Thank you for the article you wrote. Always interersted in such country specific cultural info.

    Have a nice day!

  12. says

    My parents weren’t too fond of beans so we RARELY had any kind of beans except for hummus and lentils when I was growing up. And as an adult, I don’t use them much either. I’ll keep this in mind when it’s cool enough for beans because they’re quite heavy and filling for a tropical climate.

  13. says

    Oh I have to try more of his recipes. Thank you for introducing me to him and to cowboy cuisine. This chowder recipes looks delicious. I’m not a big fan of dairy in soups/chowders, so this actually appeals to me even more. I hope you have a relaxing Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I need a day to rejuvenate!

  14. says

    I absolutely love beans, well…I’m a brazilian…beans for us is like rice for Asians. Your recipe sounds amazing very yummy. And look gorgeous too. Have a great weekend.

  15. says

    And I might add – “what Sweetlifebake is to blogging”.

    I love this idea. Beans, bacon, and jalapeño are right in my comfort zone. Your pictures are just wonderful.

  16. says

    Hey Bonnie, my Mom always made a crock pot of beans every week too. She still does actually:-) I need to be better about making a pot of beans that are from, you know, dry beans. It’s such an inexpensive and super healthful way to get delicious protein! I’m going to put some beans to soak today, so that I can make a pot tonight. I’ll see if I have pinto, so that I can make something like this. Your pinto chowder looks too satisfying. Yeah!


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