College (Rainy Day) Soup

It’s really rainy here today. The last time it rained this hard here was 2.5 years ago, as far as I can recall. Los Angeles has terrible drainage (and why would it need a thorough drainage system?), so it’s hard to even walk anywhere today, at least in our neighborhood. Here’s a picture of the flooding:

Flood 1

Yeah. We don’t want to walk to the store in that. Thankfully we have cars, but not everyone does. We believe that everyone should have a solid recipe that can be thrown together with ingredients you already have in your home. For us, this is College Soup, named such because it’s cheap and easy, which is really what college cooking should be about. Next time you’re at the store, stock up on these ingredients and stash them away for your next rainy day. Except, maybe don’t stash cilantro or citrus. That would be bad.


College Soup

serves 3-4

1 can pinto beans (or black beans)
1 can diced tomatoes, mexican-style or plain
3 cajun sausages OR 10 oz. shrimp OR 3 filets of white, flaky fish (Tilapia works best)
2 cups chicken broth
1 large yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1 lemon (yeah, it’s a lime in the photo. A lime works fine, too.)
1/4-1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil


1. Dice your onion. Saute it in a soup pot or deep pan with a splash of olive oil until softened.

2. Mince your garlic and dump it in with the softened onion.

3. Add the paprika and red pepper and a pinch of salt. Saute for a few seconds until aromatic.

4. Pour in the can of tomatoes. Let the liquid heat up and reduce slightly–simmering a couple minutes should do it.

5. Add the chicken broth and the beans. Let it come to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low.

6. Slice your sausage on the diagonal or peel your shrimp or leave your tilapia filets whole. For the sausage or the shrimp, stir them into the simmering stew. If you’re using tilapia, float it on top of the simmering liquid. Squeeze the lemon over everything, and cover the pot/deep pan.
Note: If you don’t have cilantro and/or lemon (the fresh ingredients) and you really can’t or don’t want to venture out of doors, no worries. The soup works without them. Just forego themcompletely and add a splash more white vinegar at the end.

7. After you add your protein, roughly chop your cilantro and toss it in, saving a few leaves for garnish.

8. Check the soup after a couple minutes. Shrimp and tilapia cook really fast, so make sure not to overcook them. If you’re using sausage, make sure it’s heated all the way through.

9. If you’re using tilapia, break it up slightly with your spatula and mix it into the soup. Regardless of what protein you use, give the soup a good stir to incorporate the lemon juice and cilantro. Take the soup off the heat.

10. Add your white vinegar. SERIOUSLY, DON’T FORGET THIS. Okay, you won’t die if you don’t add it. But your soup won’t taste as good. Vinegar is what makes the flavors come together. Taste the soup. If you like it real vinegary, add more. A little goes a long way, though, so be careful.

11. Garnish with your reserved cilantro and serve. Spoon some plain Greek yogurt on there if you like. It cuts some of the acidity, if you’re worried about that.

12. Serve with cheap beer that you’ve stashed in your fridge for a rainy day.

Enjoy! Sorry we don’t have a picture of the soup itself. We’ll put some up this week.


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