I think I'd call this a cross between a soup and a stew as the broth ends up on the thick side. I made it for the first time yesterday and will make some adjustments when I try it again.
Usually if a recipe doesn't rate four stars the first time I make it, I don't bother trying to fix it. But this one was tasty enough (and I knew exactly what to do to improve it) that I'll keep it for a second go-round. Besides, even though it's meatless (gasp), Papa Pea really, really liked it!
The following recipe includes the changes that I think will make it great. The original recipe was found in a Taste of Home cook book which yields good, down-home cookin' more than any other source I've found.
MEXICAN BEAN SOUP WITH DUMPLINGS
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup carrots, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups of cooked white beans
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chunky salsa
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
In a soup pot, melt the butter and saute the onion and carrots for about 5-10 minutes over a low/medium heat, stirring often.
Stir in the cooked beans, chicken broth and salsa. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes.
For the dumplings, in a small bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk and cheese just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the simmering soup.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. (Avoid lifting cover while simmering the dumplings.)
Yields 4 servings.
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~ Be sure to cut your carrots into small chunks (a medium dice?) so they cook enough. I sliced the carrots yesterday and they didn't cook as much as I wanted.
~ I used a medium hot salsa which was too hot for me although my hubby thought it was just fine. Next time I'll definitely use a milder salsa.
~ I used navy beans that I precooked from dry beans. You could definitely use canned beans but I truly think the flavor of beans you cook yourself is far superior to purchased canned ones. (Also much cheaper.) Other beans would be tasty, too. What about pinto beans? Cannellini beans? Kidney beans? Even black beans although they would change the color of the soup.
~ If you would prefer the end product to be more of a soup than stew, why not just add more chicken broth? That should work.
~ The cornmeal dumplings are very nice. You could even try increasing the two tablespoons of cornmeal while decreasing the flour for them.
~ Even though it really is fine being meatless, I know bits of pork or ham would be excellent in it. Also browned ground beef or leftover pot roast would make your meat-eater happy.
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So this is the end of Sunday Soups? (It just illustrates how quickly the month of January flew by.) Anyone have any interest in continuing this little exercise with another food for the month of February? Dishes using eggs? Salads? Vegetarian dishes? Pies? (Oh, that could be dangerous!) Breads? Pasta dishes? Anything else your little culinary heart desires?