Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Yummy, yummy black bean soup. We had this for dinner early last week and I ate the leftovers for lunch over the next few days. Surprisingly, I didn't tire of it. On Thursday I even invited a friend over for lunch, toasting leftover Ciabatta rolls(from the Cajun Steak Sandwiches) for sopping and grating pepper jack cheese over the top.

As you've probably figured out from the title of this post, to make this you will need black beans. 2 cups of shiny, dry, black beans.

Soak the black beans in cold water overnight.

In my usual step-by-step style, this is where I would usually show you how the beans had absorbed much of the water overnight. How some of the beans had turned a really pretty deep purple color. How I fried up bacon, nice and crispy and then sauteed chopped onion in the drippings. How I added in garlic, water, the drained beans, bay leaves, chopped chilies, carrots and cumin and let the soup simmer away the afternoon. Only, I didn't get a single picture of any of this. My husband swiped my camera before I even got out of bed and took it to work for the day. My camera and husband returned home at the tail end of the simmering step. By then, the soup looked like this:

Although I didn't get many pictures of the process, I do want to look a little more closely at one of the ingredients. This was my first time using chilpotle chilies in adobo sauce. This ingredient puts the "spicy" in the name of this soup. I found them in the International Foods aisle at my local grocery.

These smoky, spicy chilies are stewed in a sauce with tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt, and spices.

I chopped them up before adding to the soup. Go easy...they pack a punch! I added the required 2 chilpotle chilies and the result was too spicy for my kiddos, although "just right" for the adults who shared this soup.

I found this recipe in The Mixer Bible, so the mixer should serve a purpose here. The recipe instructed to used the fruit/vegetable strainer mixer attachment and run the soup through twice. It seemed like such a hassle to assemble the attachment just to run the soup through and then have to take the attachment apart and wash it when I was finished. Instead I reached for my trusty Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender and went to town on those beans. Oh, before you "go to town" with your blender, you should probably remove the bay leaves. I forgot. Ooops.

It wasn't pretty.

Kind of like a field trip to the sewage plant. Ewww. Did I just type that? I guess no one is trying this recipe now.

It was effective, though. I'd guess that the immersion blender created a smoother soup than the mixer's strainer attachment. The next time I make this I might take out two cups of cooked beans, blend the rest, then stir the beans back in to give it more texture.

After blending, I stirred in the chicken broth and brought it back to a simmer. Stir in 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro before serving.

All that's left to do is dish it up and garnish.

A dollop of sour cream cuts the heat and adds a nice tangy touch. The crunch of the bacon and the freshness of the cilantro pretty much made this perfect for me!

If I didn't completely turn you off with the immersion blender demonstration then give this a try! You can't go wrong with black bean soup. It's high in fiber, low in fat, and completely delicious.

Spicy Black Bean Soup from The Mixer Bible: Over 300 Recipes for Your Stand Mixer
Serves: 4

2 cups dried black beans
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 large carrot, chopped
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
sour cream
additional chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Place beans in a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover beans by 2 inches. Cover and soak overnight at room temperature. Rinse and drain.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add in the water, beans, bay leaves, chilies, carrot, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, at least 70 minutes.

3. Attach the fruit/vegetable strainer attachment to the mixer. Set to speed 4. Run soup, one ladleful at a time through the strainer into a large bowl, with another bowl to catch the solids. Run the solids through one more time. OR process with your immersion blender, blender, or food processor.

4. Return soup to saucepan. Add chicken stock and return to a simmer over medium heat, thinning with more stock if necessary. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and reserved bacon.

To download or print this recipe click here!


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

Wow! That looks like one yummy soup. You are so funny!!!

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

I have used that can of chiles myself... DANGEROUS

And I love the look of the soup

Julie said...

This sounds SO good, and good for ya too!

Kim said...

This is one of the prettiest black bean soups I've seen Krista! I like your idea of pureeing some of the soup and leaving some of the beans whole for texture.

P.S. I'm jealous of your immersion blender. I want one in a bad way:D

Reeni said...

I really love black bean soup! This looks like a delicious one!

Unknown said...

Hello Krista,
Thank you for such a great and healthy recipe.
I have one follow up question though, How did you overcome the yucky taste that comes from cooking black beans. I am basically looking for some tips to avoid that.

Many thanks,

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