This is one of those soups where you can make MANY changes, and it will be great. The meat could be altered to just about anything to fit your budget. It is lovely with the pork tenderloin, but I could see it being made with ground beef or ground turkey, chicken breasts, or even chorizo sausage. For the vegetarians in the crowd, just add more black beans! For some reason, I felt that the recipe could use some corn as well to add a bit more yellow with the yellow pepper. (BTW - a yellow pepper is best as there is a lot of green and red in this recipe already!) There was not a lot of heat in the recipe, so I could see the addition of jalapeños or crushed chillies being nice for those who like more kick. I was curious about the crushing of the tomatoes by hand instead of using diced tomatoes. After enjoying a few servings of the soup for a couple of lunches, I do see how crushing them by hand offers a unique texture. It was a bit of a mess to do the hands on technique, but it was worth the result. This recipe has a lot of room for experimentation and changes as it reappears on our lunch table.
The fact that there are many items with which to garnish makes this soup super fun and well suited to gatherings in which there are a few people. Everyone likes to have choice in their food selection, so the garnish offers that opportunity. Serving this for a work soup club comes to mind, for example. I must say that I was not a fan of the sour cream as I felt it toned down the flavour. With the use of the word "Mexican" in the title, I was expecting some heat and will add more next time I make this or offer jalapeños as a garnish. I LOVED the contrast in textures of the smooth avocado against the crunch of the radishes and lettuce. I don't think I would offer tortilla chips as an option to garnish just because the radishes and lettuce offer the same crunch without the added fat, salt, and calories. The garnishes are a bit of effort to prepare, but worth the fun of the choices!
All in all - another winner! I know that some of you are waiting for an epic fail, but I am sorry to say that this one was easy to make and created a great result!
Mexican Pork and Black Bean Soup