Easily one of the best, most interesting soups I've cooked in years. Adapted from a recipe in Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen - a dried fava bean and roasted tomato base topped with a fascinating cider-kissed tangy/sweet quick-pickled chile topping.

The way I approach cooking generally falls into one of two camps. Often I have an idea of what I want to make, and I simply set out to realize that. Other times I like to follow the lead of another cook or chef. Put myself in their hands completely. When it comes to the latter, I find myself combing cookbooks and magazines looking for recipes highlighting unexpected, interesting flavor combinations or techniques. I look for ideas and approaches that are new to me, or ways to use an ingredient I'm not particularly well versed in. I often turn to books that have strong roots in a specific place or in a traditional cuisine. This is a practice I try to keep up a couple times a week, and I have to tell you, the rewards can be great. This soup is a prime example. It is from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, a book originally published nearly 15 years ago. The soup is a fascinating pairing of a dried fava bean and roasted tomato base topped with a cider-kissed tangy/sweet quick-pickled chile topping. The topping calls for Mexican oregano, fresh cilantro and spearmint, and the green notes balance the earthiness of the chiles. Easily one of the best, most interesting soups I've cooked in years.