Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Heart Frijoles (Soup)!

Everyone Loves Black Bean Soup!
There are people who can assemble dishes without the assistance of a cookbook or a recipe. My friend Yana is one such person. All she needs to do is take one quick look at the foodstock in her fridge, glance at her spice rack, combine the ingredients and, presto, a wonderful dinner is served.  I'm not like that. I have to plan in advance and shop with a list. One exception to this is my Black Bean Soup. Truth be told it was inspired by Yana's bean soup, yet it is totally original and it was born out of a trial-and-error process, which took place in my itsy-bitsy kitchen. I think it's perfect! It's easy to make, has tons of fiber and it goes down much easier than Metamucil....

Bassy's Black Bean Soup
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced width-wise about an 1/8 of an inch (in circles)
  • 1 celery rib, top leaves removed and sliced
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon of cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt (more to taste)
  • 2 15 oz cans of Organic Black Beans (I usually soak and cook my beans, but for this recipe I use canned. I really like Westbrae Organic or Muir Glen. Try and find cans that are BPA-free.)Use the liquid from ONE can of beans.
  • 2 1/4 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock (you can use water, but stock gives it more flavor. Occasionally I make my own stock and freeze it, de-frosting it when needed.)
  • 1 bay leaf (make sure to remove it before you puree the soup, otherwise it leaves a bitter taste.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Lime juice for garnish
  • 1 dollop of sour cream for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado for garnish (optional)
In a large heavy pot or a dutch oven, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the chopped onions and stir until there are translucent, about 4-5 minutes (make sure they don't brown). Add the celery and carrots. Stir occasionally over a medium flame for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and salt. Cook for 1 minute and then add two cans of black beans, using one can of liquid. Add the stock, baking soda and bay leaf. Lower the flame and cover. Let the soup cook for 20 minutes on a low-to-medium flame. The soup should have a beautiful brown color and not look murky-- that means the baking soda has completely dissolved. Remove the bay leaf. Let the soup cool just a bit. Add some salt if needed.

Use a hand-held immersion blender (or a regular blender if that is what you have) and puree the soup until it's smooth.
Serve hot or cold with 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice per bowl, a dollop of sour cream and some avocado, which I mash up with a pinch of salt and a drop of lemon juice.

This is a great soup for early fall...Enjoy!
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