This version of lobio is made with pureed beans and onions, and is fragrant with spices. Like Lobio with tomatoes or beans with kale, it can come together in about half an hour for a great meatless weeknight dinner option.
3 15 oz cans pinto beans (or 1 lb / 500 g dry pinto beans, prepared according to package directions)
2 medium yellow onions
about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of saffron
2 cloves garlic (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Coarsely chop the onions and garlic. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven, and add the onions when the oil begins to shimmer. Stir and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, careful to not let it burn.
Pour in the undrained beans and stir well. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
After the beans have cooked for about 10 minutes, add the cinnamon, cloves and saffron. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste and cook for two more minutes.
Now comes the fun part! Using an immersion blender (very carefully so as to not splash hot liquid on yourself) or potato masher, puree the beans to as even a consistency as you can. The texture you are looking for is like a thick soup, so if you need it to thicken a bit, simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes or so. If they are too thick, add a little more liquid (either from the beans if you used dry beans or a bit of chicken broth or water if you used canned beans). Also bear in mind that the lobio will thicken somewhat as it cools.
Chop and stir in the cilantro just before serving. I used about half a bunch of it, reserving a bit for a pretty garnish for each bowl.
We served this lobio with pickles and mchadi (Georgian fried cornbread with feta - for the recipe please go to http://cookingbysight.blogspot.com/2012/04/mchadi.html).
If you prefer to serve it with crusty bread and a salad, that's fine too. But whatever you do, please enjoy it!