Saturday, March 9, 2013

really excellent black bean soup

I have had a hankering for black bean soup for a while now.  I checked a few websites for recipes, and didn't come across one I exactly liked, so I mashed a bunch of recipes together.  It came out really well!

My recipe:

a dollop of olive oil
1 pepper (I used a red bell, but green would be fine), chopped into small bits
2 onions, chopped into small bits
a tablespoon of chopped garlic (I want to say 4 cloves, but I worry a clove isn't what I think it is, and it'll sound like four bulbs, which would be too much)
a handful of okra, chopped
half a cup to one cup of brewed coffee
juice from half a lime
half a cup of your favorite salsa (I used a salsa verde, which I think the cilantro and tomatillos really go well)
2 cans black beans

Heat up a dutch oven or a big pot, add the olive oil, then the onion and pepper.  Stir and cook for a few minutes, until soft.  Then add in the garlic.  Stir and cook for a few minutes.  Add in the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Stir about.  It'll be a little dry--which is good, because the spices will become very fragrant and delicious.

Add in the beans (I add in the juices from the can, but if you're worried about salt, you can rinse the beans, or use dried beans that you've soaked and cooked).  Add in the okra. Add in the salsa.  Add in the lime juice. Add in the coffee.  (Coffee is to taste, and also depends on how thick or thin you want the soup, so be judicious.) Add in water to the desired consistency of how you like soup.

Let the whole thing cook for a while, simmering. You can let it go for fifteen minutes to forty-five (keep an eye on the fluid level), just don't let it bubble over and make a mess.

If you have an immersion blender, use that to sparely blend the soup.  I like having some semi-big chunks left, so this is definitely a personal preference. Blend until you're happy with how it looks.

If you don't have an immersion blender, remove some (or all) of the soup from the heat, let cool, and use whatever appropriate blending machine you may have available in your kitchen.  Put the soup back, reheat.

Salt and pepper to taste if you're going to eat it right away, but I recommend taking the soup off the stove, storing it for a night, and then reheating it, salt and pepper to taste, and then eat.

Letting it sit that one night will let the flavors meld.

If you aren't interested in a vegetarian version, you can substitute chicken broth for water.  Or, when you eat the soup, a dollop of plain yogurt mixes in very well and gives it a creamy texture.


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