Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Smoky Refried Bean Soup

(Yes, those are cars in there)

For those of you who don't live in Cleveland: we got a lot of snow this weekend. And by "a lot of snow" I mean that the city was pretty much shut down for 24-hours: roads were impassable, parked cars were completely engulfed in snow, it just kept coming and coming. It was pretty damn awesome.

One of the things I really like about winter in the city is how it makes people bond just a little bit more. I had a couple neighbors help me dig my car out, and I helped push a few cars out myself. I chatted with a few neighbors while leaning on my shovel and musing over the crazy snow. I got to see a little wiener-dog in a hoodie try to bound over to me in about 3-feet of snow only to give up after a few leaps. I got to shovel my ass off until my arm muscles were screaming with crazy energy. And thankfully, the bad weather struck on a weekend, so I was able to enjoy it all without having anywhere I needed to go.

It also made it a damn good weekend to curl up on the couch with some nice, piping-hot soup, as the snow swirled and tumbled outside.

The black bean soup pictured below I didn't actually make this weekend. It's the black bean vegetable soup from Veganomicon, and I must admit: I enjoyed it. It's nice and thick and has a bit of kick to it. And it'll lube up your poop-shoot like MAD! The main reason I picture it below (even though I don't have a recipe to post for it) is that after I first made it, I thought to myself: holy crap--this looks like the polluted sludge that collects at the side of the road after the snow's finally started melting and has been driven through for a few days and just looks hideous and ugly and you can't wait 'til it's gone. So it's fitting, somehow, in lieu of the snow this weekend.

The other soup featured is SusanV's Smoky Refried Bean Soup which I knew I had to make as soon as I saw it. And love it I did. It's SUPER SUPER easy. It's got a nice spicy kick to it. And it's got a nice velvety texture from the refried beans. And did I mention that it's SUPER SUPER easy? Because it is. Like so easy that I was astounded, especially for how numbly it tasted. The only adjustments I made to it are asterisked below--I don't own smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder, and given that I was bunkered down in my apartment for more than 24-hours with nowhere to go, I just used what I had on hand. I figured I'd make up for the lack of smokiness and chipotleness by just throwing a chipotle pepper in instead. And it worked wonders. Enjoy.

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1.5 c. vegetable broth

  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)

  • 15 oz. fatfree refried beans

  • 15 oz. black beans, cooked

  • 1 c. corn kernels

  • 1 t. cumin

  • 1.5 t. paprika*

  • 1 t. chili powder*

  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, diced*

  • 1 t. hot sauce (or to taste)

  • salt and pepper, to taste


Spray a large, non-stick pot with cooking spray, and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook for one more minute. Add all the remaining ingredients and cook until the flavors blend, 20-30 minutes.

Serving suggestion: Garnish with fresh tomato salsa and serve with baked tortilla chips and a large salad.

(original recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

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