Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Cinco de Mayo Bean Soup

I thought I'd round out my bean recipes with a Mexican bean soup; something perfect for an easy dinner this Cinco de Mayo.

The Cinco de Mayo Bean Soup is very similar to a chili, particularly my "This Is Vegan?!" Chili, but I find chili gets a bit heavy once the weather begins to warm. This recipe is a great summer soup; it's not too heavy but has a spicy kick and lots of beans and vegetables.

The basis for most Mexican bean soups is red kidney beans and turtle beans, plus tomatoes, onion, garlic, stock and a hot pepper. Beyond that there's lots of room for flexibility. Feel free to add or omit any of the vegetables I've listed below; they all add colour, texture and substance to the soup, but are by no means requirements.

Mexican food is fantastic for its versatility and focus on simple, fresh flavours. Delicioso!

Cinco de Mayo Bean Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 4-5


Ingredients:

1 tsp. safflower oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 avocado, peeled & diced
1 Thai chili pepper*
2 cups cooked red kidney beans
1 cup cooked turtle beans
2 cups low salt vegetable stock
2 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
2-3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped

*I prefer Thai chili peppers, but feel free to use a jalapeno for a more authentic Mexican soup*

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot on medium high
2. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally
3. Add garlic and hot pepper and stir for one minute, then add spices and stir
4. Add tomatoes, corn, beans, water and stock and bring soup to a boil
5. Lower to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes
6. Add green and red peppers and lime juice, stir and simmer for 5 minutes*
7. Remove from heat, let sit for a few minutes then serve sprinkled with cilantro

*I like my peppers cooked but crunchy; continue cooking a few extra minutes for softer peppers*