This dish is equally good either thinned down and served as soup or as a thick enticing stew.
Pinto beans in their raw state are mottled with streaks and patches of violet; delicate and beautiful like little birds eggs. Unfortunately that disappears when they are cooked. You can of course use any other similar bean as well as fresh chestnuts.
This dish will be improved if by some miracle you can get hold of smoky Asturian chorizo. Start preparations the night before.
8oz/225g dried chestnuts
6oz/175g dried pinto beans
1 onion sliced
The night before serving the dish pour boiling water over the chestnuts. In another bowl cover the beans with cold water. The next day drain them off discarding the water and put in a casserole. Cover with water and add the sliced onion and some salt.
Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 1½ hours or until they seem almost tender. Top up with water if necessary. Add the whole chorizos and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally as the chorizos release their juices.
Remove a ladleful of the beans and chestnuts and either liquidise or sieve to a purée.
Stir this back into the stew which will now be thick a gorgeous colour and ready to eat with good bread and some stout wine.