In Maine, notorious for its long stretches of cool and sometimes downright cold weather, we can eat soup eight months out of the year. (If June is rainy and cool, the way it traditionally has been, then make that nine months.)
Fortunately, Clif and I love soup, and we make a big pot at least once a week, which lasts the two of us for several nights. We have many different recipes, which we make in rotation, and this means we have a variety of flavors to enjoy. We are never bored with soup.
Warm, nourishing, filling, frugal, there is so much to like about soup, not the least of which is that it can accommodate many different diet requirements and tastes—vegan, vegetarian, meat-lover, low-carb, low-cal, lower sodium. As an incredible bonus, soup is one of the few dishes that actually tastes better the next day. And the day after that. Finally, soup is a forgiving medium, well suited for improvisation and seat-of-the-pants cooking. (Yes, that is my style.)
Last night, I made a spicy bean soup, good enough to serve to family and friends. I look forward to the days when we can gather around the table again, and talk about books, politics, movies, television, nature, gardening, and other interesting things. A crusty bread would go perfectly with this soup and so would a green salad with a homemade vinaigrette. For dessert, baked apples with a bit of vanilla ice cream.
Blogging friends, I wish you could join us. Friends who live nearby…after the pandemic! Clif and I are planning to host soup nights on a regular basis.
Here is the basic recipe, which includes kidney beans, peppers, and mushrooms. After that, you could add ground beef, ground chicken, veggie crumbles, Beyond Beef, meat sausage, or veggie sausage. After the broth, beans, and veggies simmered, we added a cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) and a cup of Israeli couscous, both of which gave the soup a satisfying bulk.
Spicy Bean Soup
- 2 Tablespoons of oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups of broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, including liquid
- 6 cups of cooked kidney beans—4 (15 oz) cans
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup sweet peppers, diced
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Soy sauce, to taste—I just splash a bit in
- Add ins: cooked ground beef or chicken, TVP, pasta, rice, couscous, whatever you have on hand or strikes your fancy
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in large stockpot. Sauté onions for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Add broth, water, tomatoes, kidney beans, mushrooms, peppers, tomato paste, and spices, including soy sauce. (If using ground meat, add now.) Simmer for 40 minutes. Taste and add more spices, if so desired.
- Ten minutes before serving, add TVP, crumbles, couscous, or pasta. Simmer until done.