It's soup season! And the weather definitely took a turn towards the chilly side as soon as September 21st arrived. Funny how that works. Just yesterday I went to work with a scarf and boots! Okay, no comment on the lack of make-up, please. Moisturizer with sunscreen is about all that I manage most days. This is just to show you that Fall has hit on the central coast of California.
So, as we head into Fall - and Sonja and Alex have launched their monthly Pretty Simple Cooking Club - I was excited by their pick of Chipotle Black Bean Soup that appears on pg. 175 of their cookbook A Couple Cooks - Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja and Alex Overhiser.*
I already made a Pretty Simple Greek Salad. Hopefully I'll have time this week to try the Creamy Vegan Potato Chowder (pg. 180) and Cherry Almond Breakfast Cereal (pg. 22). We'll see.
Before I get to the recipe, I have to share a funny story. A few bites in, this was our discussion...
D: Mom, I am going to offer you a sandwich critique.
C: I didn't make any sandwiches.
D: No, I am going to give you a critique sandwiched between two compliments. Okay? Ready?C: Ready.
So, he liked the variety of beans I used (compliment). He thought it needed more corn kernels (critique). And he liked all of the toppings I offered (compliment). That's not too bad.
So, my version isn't as quick and easy as using canned beans, canned tomatoes, and frozen corn. But in the sense that the Overhisers are urging people to fall in love with real food, I think this version of the recipe fits the bill.
Best of all, though, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf plucked some fresh oregano from his garden for me. And I am so excited to make my own crispy tortilla strips. I know it's silly, but I've never done that before and it was a revelation.
Ingredients serves 10
- 12 corn tortillas
- olive oil
- salt for sprinkling
- 1 organic onion, peeled and diced
- 1 C diced peppers (I used three smaller organic peppers)
- 2 to 3 organic tomatoes, diced
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 2 T fresh oregano
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 1 pound beans, soaked and pre-cooked (results in approximately 4 to 5 cups, I used half and half Domingo Rojo and Scarlet Runner beans)
- 2 ears corn, husked and kernels cut from cob
- 6 C vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ripe avocados, diced for garnish
- lime, for serving (I used calamansi, a Filipino lime)
- fresh cilantro for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the tortillas in half, then slice into 1/2" wide strips. Place them in a mixing bowl.
In a large souppot or Dutch oven, heat a splash of oil. Stir in the onions and peppers. Cook until the onions are softened and beginning to turn translucent, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and stir to coat with oil. Season with cumin, paprika, and oregano. Add in tomatoes and cook until they have lost their shape, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
Add in the beans and corn kernels. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes - until the broth has thickened slightly.
To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls. garnish with crisped tortilla strips, cubes of avocado, fresh cilantro, and a slice or two of lime or calamansi.
I'm not sure I'll get to the other #PrettySimpleCooking club picks for September. But I will jump back in with the October recipes soon.
Oh, and for fun, I paired it with a Kölsch-style beer from local-to-me Discretion Brewing. Cheers!