The Cost of Inventing a Soup That Was Really an Excuse to Eat Sweet Potato and Use Up a Can of Beans

It’s probably the best soup I’ve ever made.

Look at my beautiful creation

It’s getting cold enough that I’m starting to want to eat fewer green vegetables and more orange vegetables, so I decided to make myself a soup that used up the can of pinto beans that had been sitting in my cupboard since this summer and gave me the excuse to eat sweet potato. I also added corn and tomatoes, because I was maybe going for a Southwestish flavor profile? This soup was mostly an experiment, and it was the kind of experiment where the hypothesis was “if I put stuff in the slow cooker and let it simmer all day, it will taste good.”

It is probably the best soup I’ve ever made. I give that credit entirely to the sweet potato, which also makes this soup one of the most filling soups I’ve ever made (you don’t really need crackers to add bulk, I just put them in the photo as a garnish). It is a delightful soup and one that I plan to recreate multiple times over the next few months.

If you would like to recreate this soup, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Dump one 28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (plus juice) into your slow cooker. Save the can.
  2. Dump 15 oz cans of pinto beans and corn (no juice this time) into the slow cooker.
  3. Chop up two sweet potatoes, leaving the skins on because we are lazy and don’t really care and skins are great, and add them to the slow cooker too.
  4. Take that 28 oz can you set aside, fill it with water, and pour it into your slow cooker. Then use the can to hold all of the other cans that you’re about to wash and carry out to the recycling.
  5. Chop up your garlic. Put a little oil in your cast-iron pan, add the garlic, the turmeric, and the cumin seeds, and temper your spices. (That just means “heat them up until they start making noise.”) Then add your spices to the slow cooker mixture. It is harder than you think to hold that cast iron pan vertically upright over the slow cooker with one hand while scraping out the garlic and spices with the other. Have fortitude.
  6. Put a bunch of chili powder, a little bit of allspice, and a few shakes of salt and pepper on top of everything else.
  7. Add lid, slow cook on high for 5 hours.

Here’s how much it might cost you:

Two sweet potatoes: $2.13

One 15 oz can of S&W Premium Pinto Beans: $1.00

One 15 oz can of Del Monte Fresh Cut Whole Kernel Corn: $1.50

One 28 oz can of S&W Premium Petite Cut Tomatoes: $2.89

2 tbsp Signature Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $0.24

Four cloves of garlic: $0.50

Turmeric, for health: $0.05

Cumin seed, for flavor: $0.10

Chili powder, for heat: $0.05

Allspice, just to see what happens: $0.05

Salt and pepper: $0.10

Total cost (yields five servings): $8.61

Cost per serving: $1.72