In Mexico, I bought a copy of Patricia Quintana’s new book on soup, Sopas. I’m always interested in what she’s doing but this small book is one of her best. It’s straightforward and easy to understand, even with a limited command of Spanish.
Using Quintana as inspiration, and settling for the ingredients I had on hand, I came up with this really good soup. It’s the perfect way to use up that last cup or so of beans. In this case, I used the Cargamantos but any cranberry-type bean would work. Or even pintos.
Shrimp and Bean Soup
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 serrano chile, chopped fine, seeds and veins removed if you want a mild soup
2 cups cooked cranberry or pinto beans and their cooking liquid
3 cups chicken broth
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 pound peeled shrimp
1 tablespoon butter
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
In a pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the cumin, oregano, chile and salt and allow to soften. (You can omit the chile if you don’t like spicy food, or remove the seeds if you want to tone down the heat.)
Add the beans and their liquid, the tomatoes and the broth and allow to cook for about 20 minutes. Then puree all the ingredients either with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Taste and correct the seasoning.
When you’re about ready to serve, add the shrimp and allow to cook through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and serve. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.