This is a GREAT soup to warm your belly with on, say, the third cold, rainy day in a row. It is mildly spicy, with tender beans and vegetables in a warm, flavorful broth. The cornmeal dumplings made us think of a cross between cornbread and matzo balls, a great combination if you ask me!
This is a slow-cooker recipe. Can you tell that I love my slow-cooker? Since I run out of the door in the mornings, I usually prep my slow-cooker meals the night before, and refrigerate them in a large Tupperware. That means that in the morning all I have to do is dump everything into the slow-cooker and program it. This turned out to be a great strategy today, as I ended up being home sick with a cold. It was great to have hot soup that cooked itself while I pretty much slept on the couch all day.
This soup makes for a great filling, healthy one-dish meal. I topped ours with a little shredded cheese and cold sour cream. I think you could have a lot of fun with garnishes here -- scallions, olives, avocado, diced tomatoes, and other traditional taco toppings would work well.
Southwestern Bean Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings
3 cups water
1 15oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz can black beans, pinto beans, or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 10z package frozen corn
1 cup sliced carrot
1 large onion, chopped
1 4oz can diced green chili peppers, undrained
2 Tbsp instant beef or chicken bouillon
2 tsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
a little fresh ground pepper
1 beaten egg white
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp canola oil
Garnishes (optional, and to taste):
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded Montery Jack cheese
sliced black olives
1. Mix all of the soup ingredients in a slow-cooker. cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours, or on HIGH for 5-6 hours.
2. For the dumplings, mix the dry ingredients (flour through pepper) in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (egg white, milk, and oil). Combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly, but do not over-mix.
3. Drop the dumplings into the slow-cooker in 6 mounds, right atop the bubbling soup. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on LOW, or 20 minutes on HIGH. Do not open the lid during this time! Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a dumpling -- it should come out dry.
4. Ladle into bowls, and top each serving with a dumpling. Garnish to taste.