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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spicy bean soup (aka soupy nachos)

Brrr! The cool weather here is quickly turning into cold weather – and I am not happy! I miss summer already. I'm a summer person. I love the heat (yes, I don't even mind the 40 degree scorchers), the long days, warm nights, eating outside, and the summer fruits and vegetables. But despite the fact that I miss summer, I must admit that there are some good things about autumn and winter. Food during the colder months is a tad more interesting - such as soups, stews and casseroles. And while I miss mangoes, berries, cherries and lychees (my favourite summer fruits), other fruits keep me happy during the dreary, grey months – granny smith apples, crunchy pears and persimmons.

Spicy bean soup

The other evening I felt like a spicy, warming meal and immediately thought that soup would be a good idea. I decided that I wanted a spicy bean soup, and quickly found a recipe on the internet that I adapted to our tastes.

The soup was exactly what I felt like eating and the house felt warm and cozy with a pot of soup bubbling away on the stove. The cumin seeds gave the soup an aromatic, nutty, peppery flavour, and my Bro remarked that with the crisped flat bread and sour cream on top, it was like eating soupy nachos!

Spicy bean soup

Spicy bean soup (aka soupy nachos)

Adapted from BBC - Food

Serves 4

Olive oil
2 sticks of celery
2 medium carrots
2 medium onions
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
750g can kidney beans, rinsed
800g can whole tomatoes
boiling water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt & pepper

To garnish:
2 pieces of Lebanese flat bread/pita bread
Sour cream
Spring onions

Roughly chop the onion, celery and carrots. Peel and chop the garlic.

Heat the oil over a low heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and cumin seed.

Place the lid on the pot and sweat, covered, on a low heat, for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are juicy and tender.

Add the rinsed beans, canned tomatoes and enough water to cover the mixture. Stir in the tomato paste, and add the bay leaf and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30-60 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly spray the flat bread with olive oil and bake in the oven until toasted and crispy. Remove from the oven and break into small pieces.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a handful of crisp bread, sour cream, diced jalapenos, sour cream and spring onions.

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