Fast, delicious soup made of beans, beef



A search for the simplest chicken-soup recipe led me to an old and, unfortunately, long-ignored cookbook on my shelf, Truly Unusual Soups, by Lu Lockwood. That's where I rediscovered this recipe for a chililike soup.

Looking down at the splattered page brought me back to when I was 23 and just starting out in newspapers covering the small but tony Connecticut town where Lockwood managed a popular restaurant.

Truly Unusual Soups was loaded with quick recipes, of which Hummingbird Bean Soup was the best. (I have no idea why it is called "Hummingbird Bean Soup." Maybe Lockwood, a born marketing whiz, thought "Kidney Bean Soup" didn't sound fabulous enough.)

Bill Daley writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe and analysis.

Hummingbird Bean Soup

Serves 3 -- Total time: 40 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) beef broth

1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained (divided use)

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook ground beef, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Drain fat, if you like. Add chile powder, allspice and black pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add broth and half of the kidney beans to the saucepan; heat to a boil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, puree the remaining beans in a blender or food processor; stir into the soup. Heat to a boil; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese.

Note: This recipe was adapted from Lu Lockwood's Truly Unusual Soups. Try this with other toppings such as sliced green onions or chopped cilantro.

Per serving: 489 calories, 27 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 98 milligrams cholesterol, 23 grams carbohydrate, 36 grams protein, 1,537 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber

Menu suggestion

Green salad

Hummingbird Bean Soup

Corn bread


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