Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seattle Souper Swap

It felt great to be back in the soupmaking saddle, as well as catch up with old swappers and meet new ones. That's me in the pink shirt sitting at the back window. See the paper bag? The one with the "FREE BREAD WITH EVERY QUART OF PINTO BEAN WITH MINT & PINE NUTS SOUP!" sign? Well, I'm not bragging but, okay, yes I am. My soup was the first to be picked and the first to run out! Using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method, I baked 8 boules earlier that day. The bread came out looking like I slaved for days -- only my friend Knox (the founder of Soup Swap and the one pointing at the screen in the photo) knew how easy it really was. I love the Soup Swap -- it's about homemade food, local folks, lots of creativity and now, a little bit of snake oil showmanship. I guess I'll have to work on my Vince Offer impersonation for the next swap. Read more about the Seattle Soup Swap at, Nerd's Eye View, and Beastmomma.

Here's the recipe I used for this year's soup:

Pinto Bean Soup with Mint & Pine Nuts
adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison, Prodigy Guest Chefs Cookbook

32 oz. dried pinto beans
16 oz. dried lentils*
2 T vegetable or light olive oil
2 small onions, minced
1 T New Mexico ground red chile
8 c. vegetable broth*
10 c. water
2 c. soy creamer**
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/3 c. chopped parsley
1/4 c. chopped scallions or chives
3 T. or more chopped mint*
1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 can pinto beans*
2 cans garbanzo beans*

*Not in original recipe
**Half-and-half originally specified
  1. Soak the dried pinto beans overnight; drain and rinse.
  2. Transfer the beans to a pot, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse.
  3. Heat the oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onion and chile together briefly.
  4. Add the beans, lentils, vegetable broth and water to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer until beans are tender, about 40 minutes. Skim bean scum off as needed.
  5. Season to taste with salt. Add more chile if desired. Continue cooking until beans are completely soft.
  6. Purée half the beans with some cooking liquid in a blender. Stir the purée and creamer into the pot.
  7. Drain and rinse the canned pinto and garbanzo beans before adding to the pot.
  8. Stir in chopped herbs and pine nuts, reserving some for garnish if desired.
Yield: about 10 quarts of soup

Note: Response from Deborah Madison about the missing mint (1/29/08): This recipe comes from my book, The Savory Way (now out of print) and was titled Pinto Bean Soup with Mexican Cream and Pine Nuts. I interpreted it from a pueblo "recipe" and as such, it would probably be made with apple mint, but regular mint from the store (peppermint, not speamint) is fine as well.


  1. That was a delicious soup! Thanks for the recipe, I need to gather the stuff to make it, maybe for our exclusive Central District Soup Swap paired with some tamales or homemade tortilla?

    Woo hoo.

  2. Just don't be afraid to use salt! I know it's unhealthy and all, but to me anytime there are beans or potatoes involved, usually an ungodly amount of salt is involved. The vegetable stock I bought also didn't have a whole lot of flavor to begin with. Maybe if you have a nice flavorful homemade stock there won't be as a great a need for the salt.