Thanks to everyone who emailed and left comments identifying my mystery birds. The robins and cedar waxwings are still hanging around, even after last night’s storms. I’ve discovered that they’ve finished the hackberries and are now eating our holly berries, so I’m hoping there’s enough food for them to stick around a while.
Since I’ve been using a lot of my spare time bird watching, I’ve slipped into cooking so many “ridiculously easy” recipes that I’ve decided to make Ridiculously Easy a permanent feature on the blog. Through the magic of blogging, I’ve gone back in time to add a tag to many of the recipes that fit into this category, dishes that take just a few minutes or that allow you to dump your ingredients into a pot and let them cook a short time while you’re free to do other things. Just click on the tag to see the first few recipes that I’ve categorized as Ridiculously Easy, or R.E for short.
Today’s easy recipe turned out to be so delicious and comforting that I can see it becoming a regular meal at my house. Like my last R.E. recipe, it uses refried beans (though I assure you that not all my ridiculous recipes do!) I know that some people turn their noses up at canned refried beans, and though I agree that freshly made taste better, the canned version is such a great convenience. In this soup, they contribute a wonderful creamy mouth-feel that will make you think the soup is richer than it is. But if you don’t like using canned refried beans, you can always do it the old fashioned way: whiz up a cup and a half of pinto beans in your food processor with a little of their liquid and add them straight to the soup. No frying needed!
Smoky Refried Bean Soup
This soup is so thick it’s almost a chili. Use the minimum amounts of chipotle chili powder and hot sauce to make this a mild dish or add more to make it as hot as you dare.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
- 15 ounces fatfree refried beans
- 15 ounces black beans, cooked
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 – 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat a large, non-stick pot 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.
Total time (duration): 40 minutes
Diet type: Vegan
Number of servings (yield): 4
Makes 4 large servings. Nutrition (per serving): 261 calories, 8 calories from fat, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 851.8mg sodium, 478.9mg potassium, 49.7g carbohydrates, 14.4g fiber, 6.7g sugar, 15.2g protein, 7.4 points.
Original photo from 2008