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Laura Bush's Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 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 chiles
  • 1 pound mixed summer squash
  • 4 ears corn (about 2 cup kernels)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch squares
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Prepare the tomatoes. Open the chile pods and remove the seeds and veins; then cut the chiles into narrow strips. Cut the squash into large pieces. Shave the kernels from the corn.
  3. 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 chile 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.
  4. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the cheese and chopped cilantro, and garnish with whole leaves of cilantro.
  5. Serve with cornbread or tortillas.

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