Vegetarian White Bean Soup with Corn Tortillas

A wonderful soup for vegetarians. It packs a bounty of flavors, with a warming comfort for those cooler evenings.


 2 tablespoons olive oil
 3 cups diced onions
 2 cups diced celery
 1 cup diced green bell pepper
 ¾ cup diced Poblano pepper
 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
 3 ½ teaspoons salt
 ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
 ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
 ½ teaspoon whole-leaf dried thyme
 2 teaspoons dried whole-leaf oregano
 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
 1 cup finely diced canned tomato
 8 cups water
 1 lb. Blue Runner navy beans, washed
 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
 one 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying the tortillas)
 4 each fresh corn tortillas



Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, and Poblano pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown, 10-12 minutes.


Reduce heat to low. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.


Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.


 Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the navy beans. Cook, covered, for 1 hour.


Remove the lid. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the broth has a gravy-like consistency, about 1 hour.


Add the lime juice and coconut milk.


Fry the tortillas: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is frying temperature (350°), fry the tortillas, one at a time, until brown and very crispy., about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Transfer the fried tortillas to a pan lined with paper towels to drain.


In a food processor, add 1 cup of the navy bean soup. Crumble the fried tortillas into the food processor with your hands. Purée the mixture to form a paste. Fold the tortilla paste into the soup and bring the soup back to a boil.


Optional garnishes: fried julienne tortilla strips, thinly sliced green onions, pickled banana pepper rings.

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