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It's Friday so It Must Be Soup! Black Bean Soup

It's weird weather out there and I am not as compelled to make nice, warming soups as you would think I would be seeing that it is the end of November. It might be the end of November but it is also going up to about 15C today which is more about grilling and taking long walks on the boardwalk than it is about hunkering down in the kitchen to make a hearty, long simmering soup.
The perfect compromise is a nice, spicy soup that doesn't take all that long to throw together if you  used canned black beans instead of soaking dried. I am also starting to pine for Mexico since we would normally be leaving for our Xmas trip there next week but we went somewhere else last year and we aren't sure where we will end up this year. Shack's crazy work schedule dictates that we make all of our life decisions the night before so we could end up anywhere, at any time over the next month or so but for now, I will satisfy myself with a little taste of the country that I love so much. I have made black bean soup before but I made it with a ham bone and dried beans and although delicious, it was pretty labour intensive and time consuming and I wanted something much quicker so I settled on this recipe from Food Network Canada.
I used Christine Cushings basic quantities of beans and stock and although it was tasty, I think I would double up on the black beans or maybe cut the stock back to 3 cups next time because it was a little thin. Now, if you like your soups thinner then don't change a thing.

Black Bean Soup
adapted from Christine Cushing's Recipe

1 540ml can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbls olive oil
2 ounces of bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbls cumin
1 tbls mexican oregano
chipotle chili in adobo to taste
2 stalks celery, chopped finely
1 red pepper, chopped finely
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock (I would reduce to 3 cups if I make it again)
1 jar of tomato puree (about 1 cup)
salt and pepper
cojita cheese, cilantro, greek yogurt and lime to garnish

heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for a few minutes until soft and just starting to colour. Add the bacon and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes before you add the cumin, celery, red pepper, garlic, chipotle and bay leaf and sauté all of that for another 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomato and cook it all until the vegetables are tender, half and hour at least.
Remove half of the soup and puree it. Add it back to the soup in the pot, stir well and serve.
I garnished each bowl with some crumbled cojita cheese, cilantro, greek yogurt and a squeeze of lime juice. If you can't find cojita cheese you can use queso fresco or even mild crumbled feta but I was lucky enough to have a small piece of this yummy Mexican cheese in the fridge.

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