Tuesday, December 6, 2011

black bean soup

slightly smokey, creamy, yummy
I'm so excited to make this soup today.  'Turtle Beans' are my favorite and another staple in our pantry.  Remember my DF Claire? She makes an amazing Black Beans and Rice recipe that I serve like a chili.  And I always swap out the refried beans for black when we eat out.  Black beans are antioxidant-rich and a powerful addition to your diet.

This soup was part of last week's menu for the tree lighting with friends.  Typically, I make it to accompany grilled cheese sandwiches or salads.  Like many other 'repeat offenders' (recipes I go to time and again), I have a formula and sometimes vary the aromatics depending on what's in the veggie bin.  (See variations after the ingredient list.)  Because I'm remaking it today, I'm using canned beans.  With a little more prep, you could easily begin with dried beans, too.

Black Bean Soup
makes a big batch - could easily be reduced by half

2-4 T evoo
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped  
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 c dry sherry, optional
2 T cumin
1 T dry mustard
1 chipotle pepper, for smokey heat
4 15.5-oz cans black beans, I didn't rinse them
1 28 oz can tomatoes, I used whole
28 oz water, I used the tomato can to measure
salt and pepper to taste

Variations: red or white onion instead of yellow; any color bell pepper, chili powder or smoked paprika instead of the chipotle pepper


1. Heat a large soup pot.  Drizzle enough evoo to cover the bottom.  Saute the onion over medium heat to soften, while you chop the rest of the veggies.

2.  Once you have the carrots, red pepper and garlic ready, add them all to the onions with a pinch of salt to help them sweat.  Saute for about 6 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally to help the veggies cook evenly.

3.  Add the sherry and scrape the bottom for any bits.  Add the seasoning - cumin, mustard and pepper (either dried chili or chipotle).  Stir and let the seasoning soak in to the veggie base.  Approximately 2-3 minutes.

4.  Add the beans, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.  I let everything come together for about 20-30 minutes.  Then blitz in batches in the blender to finish.  This is a big recipe - so I did about 3 batches, filling the blender half-full each time. I use a big batter bowl to hold the soup that has been pureed.

5.  Then I return it to the pan to rewarm and season to taste.  Add salt, pepper and even some hot sauce if you like your soup with more heat!  While it is rewarming in the pan I prepare any toppings.  Today it is only some crumbled feta.  Simple and so yummy!

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