Friday, April 13, 2007

Southwestern Vegetable Soup

It was a crisp, blustery fall day today. Uh, I mean spring day! We were teased with a week of early-summer two weeks ago, slammed with winter for the past week, and now-- cool temps, rain, wind, and the threat of snow tomorrow. Yippee.

I just couldn't get warm today and decided to remedy that with a hot soup for lunch. I originally wanted to make an Italian-style soup but had no canned cannellini beans. Surprisingly, I only had one can of beans in the pantry, pinto. So a southwestern-style soup for lunch was concocted.

This was a mildly-spicy broth with chewy brown rice and vegetables finished with a swirl of sour cream, shredded cheddar, and a sprinkling of cilantro.

Because Jack prefers thick soups I use a "slurry", a water and flour mixture, to thicken the broth. If your taste is for the thinner broth, simply leave out step 2. Also, I puree the beans both to thicken the soup and to avoid the "you're putting beans in our food again?!?!" comment. ;) They can be added to the soup, whole, during the last 10 minutes of cooking, if desired.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Southwestern Vegetable Soup

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 ounces chopped onion -- 1 medium onion
2 large garlic clove -- minced
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
9 ounces pinto beans, cooked -- one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano -- crumbled
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder -- optional
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup brown rice -- uncooked
14 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained
5 ounces carrot -- about 1 cup; 1/4" dice
3 ounces bell pepper -- colored peppers preferred; about 1/2 cup; 1/4" dice
4 ounces zucchini -- about 1 cup; 1/4" dice
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels -- thawed
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 cup shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a 4-quart dutch oven over medium-low heat, saute the onion in the oil until softened, stirring often. Do not allow to brown. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add 3 cups of the broth, turn the heat to medium, and bring to a boil.

2. In a small bowl, stir flour into 1/2 cup cool water until there are no lumps. Slowly add to the boiling broth, stirring with a whisk to keep mixture smooth. Turn down the heat a bit and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. In a blender, puree the beans with 3/4 cup of the broth until smooth. Add the bean puree to the soup and stir. Add the next 7 ingredients (cumin through canned tomatoes) and the remaining broth, and stir. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook this mixture for 30 minutes, stirring often, partially covered. Add salt and pepper as needed.

4. Add carrot and bell pepper and cook for 10 more minutes. Add zucchini and corn and cook for 5 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Stir often to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

5. In a small bowl, mix sour cream and milk until smooth.

6. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with drizzles of sour cream, shredded cheese, and cilantro.

"approximately 9 cups "

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Per serving: 234 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (12% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 43g Carbohydrate; 2mg Cholesterol; 517mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 4 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Serve with baked tortilla chips or warmed corn tortillas
Diced avocado and fresh diced tomato are nice garnishes, too.

Also, if you refrigerate this soup, the rice absorbs a good deal of the broth so you will need to add anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional broth while reheating.