Many, many years ago, my Grandfather gave me a cookbook he bought as a fundraiser for his old school, Menaul High School in New Mexico. It's the kind of recipe book where real people contribute their own tried and true recipes.
This recipe was contributed by someone named Connie Bralley, and I halved and slightly altered the recipe for my own use. Other than using the blender, it's really easy, and only requires 1/2 lb of bacon. You can save the other half for breakfast, or for another recipe. Perhaps I'll post another recipe for using the other half (like Puerto Rican Rice or Pasta Carbonarra) one day soon.
This is a family favorite.
New Mexican Frijole Cheese Soup
1/2 lb bacon
1 large onion, chopped
22 oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
3-4 ribs celery (I leave this out!)
1/2 lb sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (or less, to taste)
1-2 15-oz can(s) pinto beans with jalapenos
1 22-oz can of pinto beans
1 tsp vinegar
salt and pepper
Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces and fry until crisp. Remove from pan onto paper towel to drain. Saute chopped onion in the bacon drippings and drain on paper towels. Pour grease from the pan.
Combine bacon, onions, tomatoes, water, celery and shredded cheese in a large pan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until blended and cheese is melted. Puree the pinto beans with their liquid. Add two cans beans w/jalapenos if you like it spicier. Stir the beans into the cheese mixture with the vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4 + servings.