When one of our Secret Recipe Club members got sick, I took over their assigned blog and boy was I happy to get A Vegan Obsession written by India-Leigh. That may come as a surprise considering I am a passionate omnivore, but I like discovering new techniques and ingredients and am always up for a fun kitchen challenge!
As I wandered through her site, I fell in love with her selection of recipes and photography. She has a wonderful eye for composition and color. Please take a few minutes out of your hectic day and peruse this site. I know you will be just as inspired as I was!
I adore soups. They are full of flavor and nutrients, warming and filling, especially on blustery days like today. Sometimes soup can be lackluster but this soup is about as far from boring as you can get. Smacking of the bright flavors of Mexico, it is enough to make you sit up and say Ole!
You can add more vegetables if you like, swap out the black beans with pinto or white beans, or puree for a smooth texture. I also added some Aleppo pepper, which may be new to some of you. A moderately hot pepper, it is most often found in Turkish or Syrian recipes. I found it a few years ago and love the fruity overtones it adds to dishes. It is especially complementary in anything with cumin in it. Give it a try and you might just find yourself reaching for it all the time!
Have you ever tried chipotle chiles? They are smoked jalapenos, typically found dried or in a vinegary adobo sauce often used in Mexican cooking. If you are using dried chiles, you will need to reconstitute them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, remove the stem and seeds, and chop coarsely. I usually leave them in large pieces to infuse the flavor and heat and remove them before serving. If you want the smoky flavor without the heat use smoked paprika instead.
If you want to turn this into a chili instead of a soup, use less stock. If you are reheating it the next day, you may want to add a little more stock or water to make it stretch a bit further. And if you want to make this ahead, it freezes beautifully. Dive into a bowl of this hearty soup and you will be reaching for your sombrero!!
If you are interested in joining The Secret Recipe Club, check it out Here. Each month we are assigned another member’s blog and we can choose any recipe from it that sounds like fun to make. We don’t reveal which blog we were given or what we are making from it. Then on a specific day we all post our recipes. It is fun to see which recipe was chosen and how other people have interpreted it. If you are interested in joining click here for more information.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
The original recipe called for black beans (which I love) but I didn’t have any in my normally well-stocked pantry, so I substituted refried beans instead. When you don’t have the exact ingredients that a recipe calls for, look around and see what you have that might work. I call that “Kitchen Punting” and you never know when you might come up with a new winner!
- 1 tbsp California Olive Ranch Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (stem and seeds discarded)
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika (mild) or ground chipotle powder (spicier)
- 1 to 2 pinches Aleppo pepper flakes
- 1 to 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp dried thyme or oregano
- 2 (16 oz) cans black beans or vegetarian refried pinto beans
- 1 can (10 oz) can RoTel tomatoes (tomatoes with chiles)
- or 1 can chopped tomatoes and 2 tsp minced mild green
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw first)
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, plus wedges to pass at the table
- Optional Garnishes
- 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives or chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels, lightly steamed
- 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- Fresh coriander or cilantro for garnish
- Crumbled tortilla chips
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions, bell pepper, and carrots for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add remaining ingredients (except garnishes), stirring until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more stock if you want the soup thinner. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with your choice of garnishes. Pass lime wedges at the table. Serve with tortilla chips for a nice crunch.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings