Red bean soup.

We’re going on a little vacation this weekend, so it’s nice to not have to buy groceries and also use up the stuff in the fridge. Also, periodically, I like to make a ton of soup, which can be frozen in containers for lunches. The timing was perfect for this soup, which is equal parts cheap to make and tasty to eat – the sweet potato gives the soup great texture and a touch of sweetness, and the combination of chipotle and lime makes it seriously flavourful.

It’s super good for you – low in fat, high in fibre, and filled with healthy stuff. Also, it goes very well with cold beer. So, no one loses!

Even if you don’t have this stuff in your fridge, I recommend a trip to the market to make this one on a weeknight. It’ll take you about an hour, not including the time to soak the beans – just plan ahead a bit, setting the beans to soak before you leave for work. And the leftovers are even better the next day.

Red bean soup

(Serves four to six.)

  • 1/2 lb. dried red kidney beans, soaked for eight hours
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced (about one cup, but if you end up with a bit more, just use it)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 5.5 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 to 4 chipotles (or to taste), chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Water

Drain and thoroughly rinse beans. Don’t use the liquid you soaked the beans in, because that liquid contains something like 80% of the farty compounds that make beans so unpleasant sometimes. If you drain and rinse, you’ll wash that away. Set aside.

In a large pot, sweat onions, sweet potato, and celery in olive oil. Add garlic, and pour beans into the pot. Fill pot with four cups of water.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Maintain a boil for about five minutes, before reducing to medium-high heat, and stir in tomato paste. Let cook, uncovered, for thirty to forty minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft and beans are easily cut in half. Add chipotles. (Note: You can buy chipotles in cans in the Latin section of the supermarket, or in smaller Latin markets. They’re cheaper there. Or just get them for free from your friends who go to Mexico.)

Remove pot from heat, and blend until smooth with an additional two to three cups of water, adding extra water for thinner consistency, if desired.

Return to heat, and stir in cumin, coriander, and the juice of the lime. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro. A side of tortilla chips is a nice touch. And don’t forget the beer.