Smoky Mexican Bean Soup with Spelt Soda Bread
In cold weather, there is nothing more warming and comforting than a big bowl of steaming soup. Or do I mean stew? I’m not entirely sure whether this Mexican bean soup is actually a soup or stew, but with a generous amount of vegetables, beans and spicy Mexican flavours, it certainly makes for a satisfying meal. It’s especially good when served with some hearty soda bread spiked with a little smoked chilli honey.
After months of grey and damp weather down here in Cornwall, we finally got a bit of winter. A couple of clear and crisp days with blue skies and sight of the sun has really recharged our batteries. This Mexican bean soup, however, is equally good on miserable wet days as it is on clear cold ones.
Having enjoyed the blackberry and apple spelt soda bread I made back along, I decided to add an apple to this one. Not an authentic Mexican flavour, but hey! A little Mexican smoked chilli honey did the trick though and gave just a hint of sweet warmth and smokiness. With a load of kefir knocking around, I used that rather than buttermilk. In my experience the two are interchangeable for baking purposes. I went with 100% wholemeal spelt this time and it worked beautifully. No need for white flour at all it seems.
For the soup I just fried an onion, then added some Mexican spice and a load of vegetables I had to hand. I finished it off with some of the smoked chilli honey I’d used in the bread. It was so good, I made the Mexican bean soup again yesterday and this time I replaced the cabbage with some sea beet greens. omitted the mushrooms and added chunks of squash and a red pepper. It was even better than the first time around. Luckily we have plenty of leftovers, so guess what we’re having for supper tonight?
Easy to prepare, both Mexican bean soup and spelt soda bread combine to make a wholesome meal quicker than you can say Speedy Gonzales. Eat it for lunch or supper, it’ll be sure to cheer you up and fill you up, whatever the weather. For a vegan version, swap the honey for some smoked chilli paste or sauce.
- 225g wholemeal spelt
- scant ½ tsp Cornish sea salt
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 small cooking apple - peeled cored and chopped
- 1 tsp Mexican smoked chilli honey (optional)
- 180ml kefir (or buttermilk)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion - chopped
- 2 carrots - roughly diced
- 1 stick celery - sliced
- 2 tsp Mexican spice mix
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- ¼ green cabbage - roughly shredded
- 500 ml water
- ½ can chopped tomatoes
- 4 chestnut mushrooms - roughly chopped
- 75g frozen sweetcorn
- 1 can black-eyed beans (or your beans of choice) - drained and rinsed
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp Mexican smoked chilli honey
- Place the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir in the apple.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the kefir and honey if using.
- Stir with a flat bladed knife until everything is just mixed and starts to come together. Gently bind the mixture with your hands and form into a ball.
- Place on a greased or lined baking tin and flatten to about 5 cm (2") in depth. Make a deep cross in the top with a large knife and bake in a preheated oven at 220C for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread looks done and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
- In a large pan, fry the onion in the olive oil over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots and celery and fry for a further 5 minutes or so.
- Add the spice mix and stir followed by the garlic and cabbage. Stir again and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a slow simmer.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, but not mushy.
- You can use whatever vegetables you like or have to hand. Adding chunks of squash and slices of red pepper, instead of the mushrooms, works very well and gives lots of cheerful colour.
- For a vegan version, swap the honey for some smoked chilli paste or sauce.
Other chunky soup recipes you might like
- Borlotti bean minestrone hotpot via The Veg Space
- Cheesy leek & potato soup (vegan) via The Tofu Diaries
- Creamy dairy free potato soup with kale via Veggie Inspired
- Lentil rice soup via Veggie Inspired
- Moroccan tomato and chick pea soup via Planet Veggie
- Peppery root vegetable stew via Lovely Appetite
- Rustic chickpea soup via Recipes From a Pantry
- Summer green soup with parsley and almond pesto via Tin and Thyme