Mexican Red Bean & Tomato Soup with Toasted Tortilla Croutons

A cross between a bean chili and a soup. Essentially it’s a bean and vegetable chili but with the addition of stock to turn it into a hearty, nourishing and warming soup. The croutons are delicious thrown on top of the soup and also as “chips” to dip into the soured cream and mashed avocado. I used the last of the tomatoes from the garden, roasted for an hour at 180C then blended, but passata or a whizzed up tin of tomatoes will work just as well.

This makes enough soup for 4 people for a filling lunch or Sunday evening supper.

A splash of olive oil
1 onion – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
1 stick celery – finely diced
½ red pepper – diced
1 red chili – finely chopped
1x400g tin red kidney beans
1x400g tin passata (or chopped tomatoes blended)
Vegetable Stock – around 300-400ml
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon paprika powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
A pinch of sugar
4 flour or corn tortilla wraps
A drizzle of olive oil

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onion, garlic, celery, pepper and chili and fry gently until softened. Add the marjoram, cumin, paprika and coriander, stir and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to release the flavours. If you like it spicy you could add some chili powder at this stage. Drain the kidney beans to remove the odd tinny flavour, then add to the pan along with the passata or blended tomatoes.

Now add the stock until you have a thickish soupy consistency. Add the salt and sugar, bring to the boil then cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to very low and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better as the flavours will develop with slow cooking.

While the soup is simmering, make the croutons.

Put the oven on to 200C. Take 4 tortillas, cut then in half into half circles, then cut into strips about 1cm wide. Put them in a bowl with a splash of olive oil and a little salt. Toss gently then tip onto a baking sheet. Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes but take them out every 5 minutes and toss them around a bit. They should be crispy and slightly browned.

Serve the soup with soured cream, mashed avocado, grated cheddar cheese and the croutons. For a vegan version simply leave out the soured cream and cheese.

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