Friday, December 11, 2009

Mexican Bean Soup

Soup has always been a family favorite on cold winter nights and this winter is no exception.  A warm bowl of soup always hits the spot, and this soup is one of my favorites.  I adapted the recipe from a book I bought years ago called The Book of Soups by Lorna Rhodes.  
As with most soups you start off by sauteing a diced onion in some olive oil.

I added some celery, garlic and chili powder to the the onions and let that cook a bit longer.  Then I added some diced tomatoes and tomato sauce I had in the freezer, from the tomatoes I grew in my garden last summer.  I realize that not everyone froze tomatoes so I used canned equivalents in the recipe below.  I also added some of the beans and some of the vegetable broth.  I always use Imagine No Chicken broth, it’s my favorite.  You let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, so the tomatoes can cook down.
At this point in the recipe I recommend that you let the soup cool before you blend it in a food processor or blender.  When I recommend that you let it cool, I mean LET THE SOUP COOL DOWN BEFORE YOU TRY TO BLEND IT.  And when I suggest that you blend it in batches, I mean BLEND THE SOUP IN BATCHES AND DON’T OVER FILL THE BLENDER.  I say this because burning your arm with hot soup as a result of impatience and overfilling your blender is NOT A SAFE THING TO DO!
Learn from my mistakes people and please follow the directions.  
So, after you have safely blended the soup, you return it to the pot and add some corn, the remaining kidney beans and broth along with some salt and pepper.  You can also add a few drops of hot pepper sauce if you’re so inclined.  I don’t have the pallet for it, but I know there are those of you out there that love that sort of thing.  
When the soup is ready, I turn off the heat and squeeze half a fresh lime into it along with a few tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro.  Don’t blow off the cilantro, it’s important to the flavor of the soup.  I also add some cubed avocado.  This recipe will make about 4 large servings for people who like to have seconds.

Mexican Bean Soup

Makes 4 large serving- Use organic ingredients whenever possible

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 15 oz can kidney beans, divided
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
1/2 lime, juiced
a few drops of hot pepper sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, seeded, peeled and cubed
cilantro sprigs for garnish
Heat a large pot on a medium low heat and add the olive oil.
Add the onions and celery and saute for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Stir in the garlic, chili powder and saute for 2 minutes more.
Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, half of the beans and 3 cups of the broth. 
Stir and simmer for 30 minutes.
Blend the soup IN BATCHES in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot.
Turn on the heat and add the last cup of broth, the remaining beans, and the corn.
Add the salt, pepper and hot sauce if you’re using it.
Cook for 10 minutes more and turn off the heat.  
Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with avocado and more cilantro.

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