Spicy Pinto Bean Soup with Bacon and Jalapeños
3 slices thick pepper bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. fresh pinto beans or black-eyed peas
1/3 cup dry red wine
3 cups chicken stock
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (or less, depending on your heat preference)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pot to drain on paper towels, pouring off all but 1 Tbsp. of drippings. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and saute until translucent and golden, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and pinto beans and saute until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Add wine to pot, using a wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Stir in chicken stock and next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat slightly so soup comes to a steady, but not rolling, boil. Cook until beans are soft and liquid is thickened, about 1 hour. (If you prefer your beans on the softer side, I recommend an additional half hour or so of cooking time.) Stir in reserved bacon. Drizzle each bowl of soup with a touch of balsamic vinegar just before serving.