This recipe is a perfect way to use an abundance of fresh eggplant, if you happen to have it growing in your garden as I do, or select from the mountains of various Asian eggplants, preferably Ichiban, at any large Asian supermarket. The citrus and smoky marinade goes really well with the eggplant. The touch of soy sauce and crunchy almonds bring it over the top. If you're looking for a special vegetarian or vegan main dish, this is the one. It can be served warm or cold, on salad greens or as a side dish.
Drain and rinse the beans and set aside. Heat oil in large cast iron enamel pot or saucepan. Add the onion, carrots and potatoes; saute until softened. Add the green chile, cornmeal (mix cornmeal with a little water into a paste first) and spice blend. Stir well. Add the beans and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add salt to taste. If desired, remove half the soup and puree in a blender in small batches. Be careful if soup is hot and only fill blender halfway. Cover top of blender with a towel and start on low power. Return blended soup to remaining soup in pot.
Serve with any of the following toppings: sour cream, Mexican crema, yogurt, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, grated cheese, sliced scallions, tortilla chips. If desired, add 8-10 ounces diced chicken sausage.