When I lived in the bay area my friend Sky and I fell in love with a Mexican food joint on Berkeley's 4th Ave. I can't remember the name of the place but it's in the back of the parking lot that sits between Peet's Coffee and Sur La Table. Sky and I spent many happy Sunday afternoon lazing on their patio at a time in my life when happy afternoons were a bit too uncommon. Our favorite dish was a big bowl of pinto bean soup covered with a mound of fresh avocado and tomato. After moving to New York I found myself missing Sky and Mexican food and California and I decided to try to recreate this soup. After a fair amount of trial and error I think I've managed a reasonable facsimile (perhaps one of my Bay Area readers can whip up my version and then head over to 4th Ave for a side my side comparison?).
Pinto Bean Soup
1tbls olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 bell pepper, roughly diced
1 tsp oregano
1 tbls cumin
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 caps pinto beans, rinsed
1 can hominy
1 cup corn (I usually use frozen)
2 limes, juiced
Place the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add onion, garlic, jalapeño, bell pepper, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper; saute for 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, hominy, corn and lime juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Using and immersion blender puree a small amount of the soup (I do this in the pot) so that the soup base becomes think and creamy. Serve with chopped avocado and tomato.
I usually eat this soup plain but it's also wonderful with a couple of warm corn tortilla or (trust me) scrambled eggs. I don't think the original soup had hominy in it but I'm fascinated with hominy and always looking for ways to eat it that do not include picking around the tripe in menudo. I suspect that the soup could benefit from a little chopped cilantro if your taste buds allow you to consume cilantro without triggering the feeling that you are eating a cleaning product.
I'm hoping to make Recipes I Invented a semi regular series on this blog -- if you happen to make any of these recipes please comment and let me know how it turned out!