A Simple, Tasty Soup

Last week I soaked and cooked two pounds of dry pinto beans. I was planning to use them for beef & bean burritos that I make ahead and freeze for lunches and quick dinners on busy days. And, indeed, I made those burritos and we have enjoyed a few. However, I got a little ahead of myself when making the beans — I only need one pound of dried beans for the burritos. One pound of dried beans is generally a little more than 2 cups, which I think is where I got a little confused. As a result of overcooking, I’ve had six cups of cooked pinto beans to make into interesting meals. Tonight I made a soup using the beans and a few things from my freezer. It turned out really yummy and is the kind of simple food that I like best. My phone is not cooperating, so I don’t have a photo. But it’s just a simple soup, not terribly photogenic for all it’s tasty.

Pinto, Corn & Potato Soup

1-2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 -2 garlic cloves, minced (my garlic is very large — so this was about 2 T)
1 jalapeno, de-seeded if desired and chopped (or about 1/4 c. frozen chopped jalapeno, if you have any on hand)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 10 – 12 oz bag of frozen corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes
2 cups cooked pinto beans, with cooking liquid
8 cups broth (I used ham broth that I had in the freezer)
4-5 cups chopped kale
dried oregano
ground cumin
smoked paprika

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and chopped onions. Saute until very fragrant and just starting to brown. Add garlic & jalapeno and saute a minute or so more. Season with oregano, cumin, paprika* and allow spices/herbs to toast briefly before adding the potatoes and corn. Stir to combine.
2. Add the tomatoes and beans, stirring to thoroughly combine before adding the broth. Some of my broth was still frozen and I added the chunks of frozen broth individually — waiting for each piece to melt before adding the next. I’ve had soup pots overflow because I don’t anticipate how much liquid will result from melting broth. But I’m sure that everyone making this soup will think ahead and thaw their broth first.
3. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer at least until potatoes are tender. I like to simmer for a LOOOOONG time to allow flavors to incorporate and deepen. About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the chopped kale to the soup pot. When cooked down to your preference, season with salt and pepper. I like to add a little (about 2T) vinegar to the pot when I am cooking dark greens. It cuts a little of the bitterness and adds a tiny bit of sour tang. You can skip this, obviously.

I served the soup with cheddar jalapeno corn bread. It was pretty good! As written this made about 8 servings. That’s 2 for tonight, 2 for lunch tomorrow and a quart will go into the freezer.

*I’m really sorry — I don’t measure herbs and spices when I’m cooking on the fly like this. You probably know what you like. 🙂


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