This year finds me talking to high schoolers about the importance of living within a budget, and making meals in a snap from everyday items found in the pantry. This weekend found me in a time crunch (okay, every day finds me in a time crunch, but that is besides the point), without the wherewithall or desire to run to the store to get some supplies for dinner. In my bare kitchen were frozen chicken bones, frozen onion skins, a bag of dried black beans, a big onion, some leftover mashed potatoes and some salsa. So I made some soup. I'm sure my high schoolers will not be impressed by this at all, but I thought this soup was nifty, thrifty and tasty. Sometimes you need to make do with what you have, and sometimes you realize that what you have is actually quite a lot (such as odds and ends turning into a big pot of soup)!
1 pound dried black beans or other beans of your choice (pinto, Great Northern, etc.)
6 cups chicken broth* or vegetable stock
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup salsa
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 - 2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 cups or so leftover mashed potatoes
Cook the dried beans according to the package directions (or cook them in a crock pot), set aside. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Add the broth, salsa, cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder and lime juice. Add roughly half of the cooked beans to the pot. Mash the remaining beans, then add them to the pot along with the mashed potatoes. Stir, then bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer about 30 minutes or until the soup is thick. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot.
*I freeze chicken bones and onion skins, along with carrot and celery tops, so that I can pull them out later and make stock as needed (overnight in the crock pot is the easiest way to do it!).