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Smoky Beans & Bulgar Stew with Chimichurri

  • Author: Megan B-L
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 70 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup


Tender, creamy pinto beans! Salty smoked ham! Smoky chipotles! Hearty bulgar! And intensely flavorful chimichurri to finish it off. This recipe is DELISH! 



Smoky Bean & Bulgar Stew

  • 2 cups (1 lb) dry pinto beans, rinsed & picked through for rocks
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb smoked ham, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 chipotles in adobo, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgar


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small shallot or ¼ of a small red onion, very roughly chopped
  • ½ cup parsley
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼–½ cup olive oil


  • cojita for topping (optional)


  1. Add all stew ingredients to Instant Pot besides bulgar. (Slow cooker & stovetop instructions in the Notes!) Set on high pressure for 40 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, make the chimichurri. You can absolutely do this the authentic way by mincing all ingredients with a knife and mixing in a bowl, but I choose to use my mini food processor. (You could also use a blender, regular food processor, or even an immersion blender.) So, first add the garlic & shallot/red onion. Give that a few pulses until they are pretty much minced. Then add the rest of the chimichurri ingredients (start with ¼ cup oil) and blend just enough until the parsley and cilantro are chopped into small chunks. Not a paste! If you like an oilier chimi, add the rest of the oil after transferring the mixture to a bowl. Set aside for now. 
  3. When IP is done, quick release pressure and add bulgar. Put the cover back on and leave it on the “Keep Warm” setting (vent open) for 20 minutes. 
  4. Done! Dish it up with a swirl of chimichurri and a sprinkle of cojita on each serving. Enjoy!


  • Slow cooker instructions: Put all ingredients besides bulgur in a slow cooker and cook for 8–10 hours on low. Add bulgur, replace lid, and keep on Warm setting for 30 more minutes. 
  • Stovetop instructions: Soak dried beans overnight in the fridge or “quick soak” by boiling beans in a few inches of water on the stove, then turn heat off, cover, and let beans sit in hot water for 30 minutes before the next steps. Drain beans. Add all stew ingredients besides salt and bulgar to a pot on the stove and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer stew for an hour, covered but with the lid ajar, before checking if the beans are done. You may need to add more broth/water. If beans are not soft and creamy, keep simmering. You might have to simmer for 3 hours or more… we never know with dried beans! When beans are soft to your liking, add salt and bulgar, and simmer with the lid on for 30 more minutes. 
  • If you don’t like smoked ham, I’d recommend using andouille sausage or a smoked turkey leg. 
  • You could also use different types of beans if you’re not a fan of pinto. I think any type would work fine!
  • Could you use canned beans for this recipe? Hmm. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you are making the stovetop version. For the stovetop version, I guess you could just throw all ingredients (subbing dried beans with 2 drained cans of beans) into the pot and simmer for 30–40 minutes. I have not tested this but that’s what I’d do if I was going to make it this way. 

Keywords: stew, soup, smoky, chipotle, dried beans, pinto beans, bulgar, healthy