Warming Vegetable Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
3 or 4 carrots, chopped
1 large potato, cut into 1 1/2 cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin is best)
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup refried beans or 1 cup cooked beans, mashed well
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon molasses or sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium-sized sauce pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and some salt and pepper and saute 4 or 5 minutes until translucent, adding some of the broth if needed to keep onion from browning. Add potatoes, carrots, broth, beans and molasses and cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes and carrots are tender, but not mushy. Add spinach, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 2-3 minutes for spinach to cook and flavors to combine. Serve hot with a good crusty bread.
Notes: The cinnamon and nutmeg might seem a little strange, but they make the soup smell wonderful and give the taste a warm background. It would also be good with pumpkin pie spice or a little allspice. The refried or mashed beans help to thicken the broth a little, but you could just put in a cup of cooked beans without mashing. You could also use sweet potatoes, parsnips, winter squash, or radishes (saute them until they're a little soft and brown first) in this as well.