The Sauce: Chicken Broth – Homemade chicken broth simmered with meaty chicken bones, vegetables, aromatics and herbs. Rich flavor you can’t get out of can, bottle or box makes this soup mouthwatering.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Mexican Hat and the Grand Circle
Mexican Hat is a small town in the southwest corner of Utah and smack dab in the middle of the Grand Circle. It has a population of under 100 people with a few eating establishments and a couple of motels. It’s named after a red rock formation with a sombrero top just outside town. We vacationed in a small motel spending our days driving scenic roads and hiking trails through Natural Bridges National Monument. Three outstanding rainbow bridges, Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu, have been carved by erosion. Hiking down into the river bed and under the bridges is breathtaking.
But don’t stop there, with a compass point on Mexican Hat, you can draw a circle around Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon National Parks. This is America’s largest concentration of national parks and monuments woven together by extraordinary scenic byways and laden with fascinating geologic shapes, red rock and rivers making up the Grand Circle.
Monument Valley, a half hour drive south of Mexican Hat, is a region of vast sandstone buttes. Access through the rock formations is by a meandering road just wide enough for a car. Several western movies were filmed here, think movie star John Wayne, with this terrain as the backdrop. That was a memorable drive.
After a long day of hiking and driving, we headed back to Mexican Hat. For supper we devoured Navajo Tacos at a small cafe. They’re made with large fry bread covered in beans, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. When I designed my bean soup, it reminded me of that rustic meal, hence the name. This soup brings back memories of a wonderful trip to southeast Utah.
Recipe: Mexican Hat Black Bean Soup
Prep Time: 8 Minutes | Cook Time: 27 Minutes | Yield: 12 Cups | Level: Easy
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 stalks celery, diced, about 1cup
- 1 medium onion, diced, about 1 cup
- 1 medium carrot, diced, about 1/2 cup
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 6 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- sour cream, garnish
- sliced green onions, garnish
Special Equipment – large stock pot
1 Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add celery, onion, carrots and sauté for 10 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove a tablespoon of the vegetables for a garnish, if desired.
2 Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes.
3 Add chicken stock, water, beans and bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
4 Place half of the soup in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add back to the soup pot
5 Serve soup in bowls garnished with a few pieces of sautéed vegetables for a garnish. Or garnish with sour cream and sliced green onions.
To use dry beans, wash beans then cover with 2 inches of water to allow for expansion. Soak them overnight. Pour off the water and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 2 hours until they are tender. Or for a quick soak method, cover dry beans with water and bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 2 hours. Pour off the water and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 2 hours until they are tender.
This soup freezes well.
If desired, blend the rest of the mixture for a smooth pureed soup.
Serve with tortilla chips and salsa or as a starter for a Mexican dinner.
Serve with a taco on the side.
- Increase or decrease the chili powder for heat preference desired.
Inspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: January 22, 2012