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Refried Bean Taco Soup

Taco Bean SoupRecently I had a cold and was cranky after 7 days of having no voice.  I needed a change! I was finally feeling better and was going to lunch at a local bakery that serves awesome soups and sandwiches. I checked their online menu and wondered whether I could make the soup on my own.

The menu listed it as Taco Bean Soup and said it was made with kidney beans, black beans, corn, spicy tomatoes and refried beans. I’d recently re-organized my pantry (when I have a cold I do strange organizational things) and realized I had about 25 cans of refried beans. Ok, I exaggerate. There were only 10. And a whole lot of cans of assorted beans, besides those.  My P.S. (Pantry Stocker/hubby) had been busy stocking beans, for some unknown reason.  So instead of dining out, I chose to stay in and make some of this taco bean soup!

Beans and Tomatoes

Beans and Tomatoes

I easily found a recipe in a search on Google. It had all of the same ingredients but my nose wrinkled when I read that it called for a packet of taco seasoning. Pffft! That’s evil stuff in those packets. I would simply use real seasonings like chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic and diced onions. It would be way better than a packet filled with msg!

Saute onions until lightly browned and translucent

Saute onions until lightly browned and translucent

I diced an onion and sautéed it in a drizzle of oil in a large skillet. When it was translucent I added 2 cans of diced tomatoes. The recipe called for spicy tomatoes, but I had some chipotles in adobo sauce in the fridge that would amp up the heat on my regular tomatoes.

Add tomatoes to the skillet with the onions

Add tomatoes to the skillet with the onions

I used canned tomatoes that were roasted, but plain ones would be just as good.  This soup has so many flavors, roasted tomatoes really aren’t necessary.

Diced chipotles

Diced chipotles

I added three diced chipotles, some of the adobo sauce and let the mixture bubble away in the skillet for about 5 minutes to meld the flavors.  The chipotles were small, you could use more or less to suit your taste.

Simmer the onions, tomatoes and chipotles

Simmer the onions, tomatoes and chipotles

In a small soup pot I put 2 cups of chicken broth and the can of refried beans. I whisked them as they heated, until the broth was smooth.

Whisk refried beans into chicken broth until smooth

Whisk refried beans into chicken broth until smooth

I then added a can of black beans, a can of kidney beans, and a can of whole kernel corn. I’d drained and rinsed them all in a strainer first.

Black beans

Black beans

I used a light kidney bean, the usual dark ones would work as well.  Or even using two cans of black beans would be fine.

Kidney beans

Kidney beans

The onion and tomatoes mixture went into the pot next, followed by the seasonings. I stirred it well and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add tomato mixture to broth and refried beans

Add tomato mixture to broth and refried beans

I taste tested the soup and decided it needed a bit more chili powder. The heat factor was just right, and the salt was fine as well. Most of the canned beans and tomatoes have so much salt added that I rarely have to add more.  I did one more tweak, however.  I added a glug of rice wine vinegar.  The soup was a little one note and needed some acid.  After adding the vinegar, the flavors popped and it was perfect!  Forget that horrible taco seasoning packet, this was simple and effective cooking with real seasonings.

Add seasonings

Add seasonings

I let the soup simmer another 15 minutes while I made sandwiches to go along with it for lunch. I served the soup hot with a dollop of sour cream.  My P.S. added a handful of shredded cheese to his soup as well.  The recipe suggested it would be good with a sprinkling of Fritos on top and I did actually have some in the house, but I resisted. The sandwiches were enough of an accompaniment for the soup.

Serve garnished with sour cream, cheddar cheese, or both

Serve garnished with sour cream, cheddar cheese, or both

I’m so glad I thought to make this soup instead of driving downtown on the first icy roads of the season for a bowl of soup. It was so flavorful, we loved it! Plus we have leftovers for another lunch later this week. I’d guess it makes 6 regular sized servings or 4 generous ones.  I prefer my soup with a little less heat,  but I did like the heat of this soup.  If you have a lust for burn, you might need to add more chipotles to taste.  Like less heat?  Just use one or two chipotles.

Taco Bean Soup

1 large onion
Oil for frying
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers and adobo sauce; diced (I used 3 for extra heat)
2 cups chicken broth
16 ounce can refried beans
15 ounce can black beans; drained and rinsed
15 ounce can kidney beans; drained and rinsed
15 ounce can whole kernel corn
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (adds heat, if you prefer less heat, use regular oregano)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Sour cream (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Fritos (optional)

Dice then sauté the onion over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet with a drizzle of oil. When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and chipotle peppers, stirring well. Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a soup pot over medium heat, whisk the chicken broth and refried beans until smooth and heated. Add tomato mixture, kidney beans, black beans and corn. Add seasonings and stir well.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add rice wine vinegar and taste test for seasonings, adding more to taste.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, or a handful of Fritos if desired.

Adapted from Food.com

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