Thursday, February 13, 2014

TWO Black Bean Soups

I hope you all know what you're making for your Valentine's Dinner tomorrow night.  I would suggest making these soups another night.  Just saying.  They're good...but, they are made mostly of beans, and well...

On with the recipes.

I really enjoy these black bean soups.  They are so easy and tasty.  They are simple and great for week night meals. If you have corn bread, crumble it on top.  If you have sourdough, dunk it.  Pull out a salad, and it's a well-rounded meal.

This unique black bean soup is flavorful, filling, and packed with lots of antioxidant-rich ingredients (black beans, sweet potatoes, cocoa powder, etc.).  It is perfect for a chilly evening, can be prepared in advance, and freezes beautifully for an easy dinner or lunch.

Britt's Black Bean Soup
Serves 8
Active time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serving Suggestions: Corn bread or tortillas, and a hearty green salad.

What you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups diced sweet potato (leave skin on)
  • 4, 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your level of heat tolerance
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 3/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • 1, 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (optional garnish, omit for vegan)
  • 16 fresh cilantro leaves (optional garnish)

What you'll do:

  • Cover and microwave diced sweet potatoes for 6 minutes, allow to cool slightly before you attempt to handle.
  • In a food processor, puree the sweet potato and half the black beans with 1-2 cups vegetable broth.  (Note: if you do not have a food processor, you can accomplish this step with a bowl, potato masher, and some elbow grease)
  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add onion and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and spices.  Cook until fragrant then quickly add remaining broth and tomato sauce to prevent burning the garlic.  
  • Add pureed sweet potato/black bean mixture, corn, black pepper, cocoa powder & sugar.  Stir well and simmer over med-low heat until heated through (about 10-15 min).
  • Add whole black beans & lemon juice, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes before serving.
  • Garnish each bowl with a dollop (1 T) of sour cream or yogurt & a couple of cilantro leaves, if desired.

This is a great soup for either a hot lunch or to complete dinner on a cold night.  The pumpkin is subtle enough to not freak people out, and the spices really round everything out.  It's hearty and healthy and tasty - what's not to love?  Oh - did we mention most everything is probably in your pantry right now and it can be ready in less than 30 minutes? If you can, double and freeze for later!

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
Serves 4 (1 1/2 cup servings)
Active time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  Round this soup out with cornbread and a green salad.

What you'll need:
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice OR crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2  tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:
  • In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Once hot, add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes
  • If desired, slightly puree soup to give it a thicker, more uniform feel.  If you don’t have a blender or food processor, use crushed tomatoes, and mash beans with a potato masher before adding them to the pot.

If you're looking for yet another Black Bean soup, here's a more elegant version.

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