Herrera’s Bean Soup

The Boss is gone this weekend.  There was a sister get together and I wasn’t invited.  The Boss is a worrier.  She frets about leaving me home alone for the weekend.  I say worry not.  There’s simply something that must be done when The Boss is gone.

Make beans.  This weekend’s mini-project was to recreate the free cup of pinto bean soup you got with every meal at one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants.  I know the location we frequented in Carrollton Texas has closed.  Many of the chain’s locations have boarded up and I’m not sure if any have survived.  The Doctor always ordered 13b double beans, no rice.  Each family member has fond memories of the food.  I’m fairly certain there was plenty of lard but we’ll never know for sure.

I started with my basic Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal and used bacon slices to saute the vegetables.  Instead of the canned tomatoes I used a commercially bottled Salsa Casera medium from Mexico (seriously, this should have nailed it).

Nope.  The beans taste exactly like my pinto bean soup with bacon and some spicy tomatoes.  I have failed to replicate Herrera’s bean soup.

Now if I could just find out the brand of hot canned jalapenos Herrera’s used…


Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal – Updated 11.10.20

Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal

1/2 pound dried pinto beans
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican variety preferred), crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (medium), finely chopped
1 can tomatoes, fine dice
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch salt


1. Pick over the beans carefully and remove any foreign particles. Put the beans in a strainer and rinse under cold running water. Put the beans, bay leaf, oregano, and cumin in a large saucepan with water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the beans are tender and the liquid thickens, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do not let the beans boil dry. Check the water level during cooking and add hot water, when needed, about 1/4 cup at a time. There should always be about 1/2 inch of water above the level of the beans.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a medium skillet and cook the onion, stirring, until it browns, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and ground chili. Cook, stirring, until the tomato juices evaporate, 2 to 3 minutes. When the beans are tender, add the onion mixture to the beans. Add salt, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes to blend flavors. Remove the bay leaf, and serve hot.

Adapted from the original meatless recipe found in “1,000 Mexican Recipes.” Copyright 2001 by Marge Powe, Wiley Publishing, Inc.


I love pinto beans and found this recipe a long time ago.  When the offspring were little I didn’t fix beans at home.  I got my bean fix when we went out for Tex-Mex and gorged myself on the refried variety.  Nowadays as an Aging Wonder I tend to eat a lot healthier than during my younger days.  Give me a good bowl of beans and I’m a happy camper.

Check back for updates and tips on this soup recipe.  I’ve got beans on the stove and I am absolutely positive I no longer follow the recipe as written.


Substitute Mayocabo beans instead of pinto beans.

That’s it. That’s the update.

Pinto Beans with Turkey Kielbasa

Before I moved to Texas I didn’t know what a pinto bean was.  I haven’t lived in Texas for some time but I still have to have my pinto beans.  The other day I was in the grocery store meandering as I normally do and found turkey kielbasa on sale for 99 cents.  After checking the last sale date (still good) I tossed the sausage into my cart.

A couple of weeks pass and the kielbasa is still in the fridge.  I needed to do something with my bargain but what?  There was a lively discussion recently about the differences between Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, New Mexico-Mex, AZ-Mex, and the unfortunate stuff we have where I live…Okie-Mex.  I recalled the best bean soup ever from a restaurant in the DFW area.  The soup came complimentary with your meal.  So I figured I’d just make a pot of beans.  I always leave the spicy hot peppers out because some people don’t like their food too spicy.  But this pot of beans just needs a lot of jalapenos and Tabasco sauce.


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 pound turkey kielbasa, diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Rinse and sort the beans. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and soak the beans for one hour. Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. Rinse the pot and return to the stovetop.

When the pot is dry, add the bacon and crisp up on medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and saute for several minutes until browned. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the water, deglaze the pot, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up the bits of goodness.

Return the beans to the pot and add water to cover. Stir in the cilantro, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer partially covered for a minimum of 2 hours. Check the pot every now and then. Add more water if needed.




Update 06.13.14

Maybe it’s Friday the 13th or something, but I just tasted my beans.  Don’t get me wrong,  The beans are awesome tasty.  But it is not nearly close to Herrera’s out of this world bean soup!  Either I keep working on this recipe or just give up.  OK, I give up.

Dr. Lee, remember #13a double beans, no rice?  Go to Herrera’s.  Not even gonna attempt that one.