Laura Bush’s Vegetable Soup

Laura Bush’s Vegetable Soup

1-1⁄4 cups pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled, seeded, and chopped; juice reserved
2 ancho chilies
1 pound mixed summer squash
4 ears corn (about 2 cups kernels)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoon corn or vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, cut 1⁄4 inch squares
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoon red chili powder, or more to taste
8 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
4 ounces jack or muenster cheese, grated
1⁄2 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Whole cilantro leaves for garnish

Cook the pre-soaked beans for about 1 to 2 hours in plenty of water with the salt, bay leaf and oregano. Remove them from the heat when they are soft but not mushy, as they will continue to cook in the stew. Drain the beans, and save the broth. Prepare the tomatoes. Open the chili pods and remove the seeds and veins; then cut the chilies into narrow strips. Cut the squash into large pieces. Shave the kernels from the corn.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and sauté the onions over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

Lower the heat, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and coriander and stir everything together. Add a little bean broth, so the chili doesn’t stew for 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, corn, green beans, and chili strips along with the cooked beans and enough broth to make a fairly wet stew. Cook slowly until the vegetables are done, about 15 or 20 minutes. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the cheese and chopped cilantro, and garnish with whole leaves of cilantro. Serve with cornbread or tortillas.


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