Post-holiday days are always a struggle. Unfortunately build-ups eventually lead to let-downs. Discussions with co-workers revolve around yesterday’s grandiose fare making today’s lunch (the usual spinach salad) pale in comparison. The single remaining Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg sits on my desk saying, “Enjoy me while you can, Brenna. The next candy promotion of epic peanut butter proportion is in October.”

You know what always makes me feel better? Soup. Here’s a recipe for a light, yet hearty one. I feel I can call it “light” because there’s no cheese. Or cream. It cooks up quickly and the tortilla strips make an excellent topping– if you don’t munch on them too much during the soup preparation. The corn, chile, beans, and salsa also make it colorful. The perfect soup for a spring evening.

Southwestern Pork and Bean Soup

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1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 corn tortillas, halved and cut into 1/4-inch strips

salt and pepper

1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 cup corn kernels

1 Anaheim chile, seeded and chopped

6 scallions, sliced thin

1 (16-ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup chunky salsa

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

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Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry tortilla strips, stirring often, until crisp and deep golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips to paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.

Add pork to oil in pot and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl and set aside. Add corn, chile, and scallions to pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in beans, salsa, and broth and bring to boil. Simmer over medium heat until soup is slightly thickened and flavors meld, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in browned pork and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Top soup with tortilla strips. Serve.

Serves 4

Adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Summer 2011

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