Monday, July 18, 2011

Black Bean Soup

I really like black beans. Because of that, we've got a lot of canned black beans in our food storage, and I mean lots. Enough that I’m not sure we’re going to eat them all before the expiration date. Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to make them. Why not a black bean soup?

This recipe for black bean soup is easy to make, and pretty tasty. It relies on chiles to kick the flavor up a bit, so try not skimp thinking it will be too hot. Fortunately, it doesn’t use too many. If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Equipment Needed
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Garlic press (optional)
Measuring cups and spoons
Dutch Oven or large sauce pot
Blender or food processor

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeds removed, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 15 oz. cans black beans
1 Tbl canola oil
2 tsp chili powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbl fresh lime juice
Parsley or cilantroMa to garnish
Salt as needed

Drain and rinse the black beans in a colander. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, jalepeno, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook about 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cook for one minute more to bloom the spices. Stir in the beans, broth, water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Process three cups of the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Be careful, it’s hot.)  Return the pureed soup to the pot. My preference is to use a hand blender and process until mostly smooth. Add up to 1/2 cup more of water, if you think it’s too thick. Return to a simmer.

Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

You can also garnish with sour cream, minced red onion and/or diced avocado, if you’d like.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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