Thursday, April 12, 2012

Better Black Bean Soup

I decided that I like my black bean soup a little bit thicker than the recipe I had been using for a while. I searched online and this is what I came up with...I made a few modifications of my own and it turned out really yummy!

Black Bean Soup from Bon Appetit

Okay this isn't a picture of my actual soup, but it looks JUST like this!

1 lb dried black beans

2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups (or more) water
~ 1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro

My additions:
Splash of low sodium V8 Vegetable Juice
Squirt of Sriracha (or any other hot chili sauce)
Immersion blender :)

To garnish:
Sour cream
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Chopped roma tomatoes

Cook your dried beans however you usually do. Either soak them overnight and cook them until they are almost tender, but still a bit too tough, or use a pressure cooker. Personally, I like the pressure cooker. I just throw 1 cup of beans in with about 3 cups of water, put the lid on, and bring it to high pressure over high heat. Let it sit there about a minute or so, then turn the heat off and let the pressure fall naturally. For this recipe, the beans are perfect and ready to go - they are still a bit tough but they will be perfect after the soup simmers for a while.

With the beans done, heat some olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and add the peppers, onion and garlic. Sauté until brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the oregano and cumin then stir over the heat for about another minute. Transfer the mixture to a large soup pot or dutch oven and add the beans along with the water. Add a good pinch of salt and maybe a bit of black pepper.Bring to boil then reduce the heat and simmer.

After about ten minutes of simmering, I got skeptical and decided i needed to "doctor it up" a bit. I added a splash of V8 (around half a cup). Also, I squirted a little Sriracha in, but be careful - only add as much heat as you like. 

Now let the soup simmer nicely until it thickens, probably for about 45 minutes or so.

Finally, whether you decide to blend or not, stir in the cilantro and serve the soup topped with sour cream and/or cheese, and tomatoes if preferred. You could also sprinkle some finely chopped jalapeno peppers on top if you like the extra spice.

 I decided to take the immersion blender to my soup, pureeing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture and leaving the rest untouched. You could achieve the same thing by removing a portion of the soup into a blender or food processor. This gave it that last little bit of thick, creaminess that I was looking for, but it's up to you.

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