From Carol Watson/ Milk and Honey Cafe
[Ed: This just in, from earlier this winter. Says Carol: “This soup is inspired by classic Mexican flavors of cumin, black beans, smoky chipotle chiles, and fresh cilantro. I think of it as the perfect comfort food for a fall weekend—make it once and simply reheat anytime you feel like another bowl. For something even more substantial, try topping each bowl with a handful of shredded roasted chicken. Tthis soup is even better the next day after the flavors have had time to intensify.”]
Ingredients2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped 1 stalk of celery, chopped 2 teaspoons ground cumin 8 cups vegetable stock (64 ounces) 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into ½ inch pieces 1 can (29-oz) hominy*, drained and rinsed 1 can (14-oz ) diced tomato, drained 2 cans (15-oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped 1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped 1 ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices 1 lime, halved, for garnish 2 cups tortilla chip strips, for garnish
Heat the oil in the bottom of a 6-quart stockpot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the jalapeno and the garlic and cook on low until soft, another 2 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and cook until just soft. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant. Add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and add the sweet potato, hominy, tomatoes and black beans. Cook on low 40 minutes to an hour or until the potatoes are soft.
Add the chipotle peppers and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide among bowls and garnish each with a slice of avocado, a squeeze of lime and about a quarter cup of tortilla chip strips just before serving.
*Ingredient spotlight: Hominy
A form of corn, hominy is fairly underutilized outside of the southern U.S and Mexico (where it’s known as pozole). Essentially, hominy is hulled corn that’s been stripped of its bran and germ. It has the central flavor of corn, but also a completely unique taste that comes from the lye solution it’s soaked in to remove the hulls and a slight chewiness because the corn is first dried and then rehydrated. Use it as you would corn, adding to soups and stews, or even just heating with butter, salt and pepper, and serving as a side.