Mexican Corn and Bean Soup

Mexican Corn and Bean Soup
Nothing new over here in the Leftoverist household. How can it be? That nothing changes in my life, but I am so full of things to say? And soup again? That's really nothing new. If I were to document all the soups produced in this kitchen, you'd really grasp the full meaning of "leftovers." And you might not keep reading.

But stay tuned for this one. My mother-in-law has been making this for a long time, and it easily wins the prize for easy, fast, nutritious, and mass appeal. Chalk another one up for beans.

P.S. I follow a lot of food blogs. One thing I notice (and participate in) is lots of sweets and side dishes. Or main dishes with too many steps (or too many expensive ingredients in "30-minute meals"). When I find something like this soup, I hang onto it. With everything I know about food, I'm still desperate to answer that perennial question--What to have for dinner tonight?!

P.S.S. I'm thrilled to announce that I am now regularly featured on The Christian Science Monitor's food and culture page, Stir it Up! I'm honored to be part of this venerable news source and spreading the Way of Leftovers even further.

Mexican Corn and Bean Soup
Another plug for Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn. Delicious! Cheap! Regular frozen corn will do just fine, though. And if you've cooked up some beans yourself, you can, of course, use those instead of canned ones.

2 Tb. olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. chili powder (ancho is my favorite)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tb. sugar
coarse salt
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can kidney beans
1 14 oz. can pinto beans
2 cups frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
sour cream, diced avocado, crushed tortilla chips, and more cilantro for garnish

In a large stockpot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and sugar with a couple tablespoons of water to form a paste. Add paste to onions along with tomatoes, beans, and corn. Add enough water to cover by 1", bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 20 minutes, until flavors meld. Taste and add more salt if you want.  Add chopped cilantro at the end and serve with garnishes.