Black Bean Soup

You ever have a recipe that you have looked at dozens of times and thought “That looks great, but not today”? For months that was my experience with Black Bean Soup. It sounded interesting but I was always stumped as to what I should serve with it. I finally decided to just go for it; I took some fish down from the freezer, planning to toss some mexi-seasoning on it and it would work just fine.

One of the reasons I knew I had to make this soup was that I had a bag of dried black beans sitting in my pantry. Usually I am lazy and get canned black beans but on one grocery trip I guess I had been determined to save money and bought the dried beans instead. Since we have had our little girl I have been trying to figure out how to get more legumes into our diets. They are essential for making complete veggie proteins and help you keep your diet “balanced”. I know that we eat too many starches since they are cheap and easy but beans are also a very budget friendly and filling addition to meals.

Recently I read that they are actually are re-looking at the idea that you need to have all the elements of a “complete” veggie protein in the same meal. You may get the benefits by just making sure that you are eating a good portion of each every week. I can’t find good collaborating evidence but it’s something to think about. Here is a short general list about making complete proteins without meat.

To start with it, the recipe tells you to sort and wash the beans. Most of the time my “sorting” consists of shaking my strainer a couple times and taking out any odd colored or shriveled beans I see. I then placed them in a pot and covered with water. You are then supposed to bring to a boil, cook for two minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour. If you remember to put the beans in some water the night before and let them soak overnight you can skip this step.

I LOVE my manual food processor for chopping onions. My eyes always turn into a water mess and I appreciate being able to throw the onion in, pump it a couple times, and then keep the lid on until I’m ready to use them. This keeps me from looking like I had a tragedy in the kitchen.

The only addition that I made to the recipe was that I added some of my own “Mexi-Spice”. I have no idea what I put in it, I just know that I was trying to make a low-sodium taco seasoning and that it turned out pretty good. After cooking the onions and garlic in my stockpot (I moved the beans to a drainer) I added the beans and other ingredients. It then tells you to simmer for 1 1/2 hours until beans are tender. Again, if you soak the beans overnight you may be able to reduce this time since they will not need as long to cook.

After the beans where mushy I transferred in in batches to my food processor. A blender may have worked better for this but we don’t have one at the moment, I thought the food processor did a good job. Make sure that beans are really soft, this will make blending easier. I thought that the hard boiled eggs as a topper where wonderful on this soup, I made a double batch and froze half of it. I’m looking forward to having it again!

Black Bean Soup

YIELD: 4 servings

TOTAL:2 Hours, 50 Minutes

Ingredients

1 cup dried black beans (about 6 ounces)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (14-ounce) can organic vegetable broth

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

1/4 cup tomato paste

3/8 teaspoon salt

3 hard-cooked large eggs, coarsely chopped

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Preparation

1. Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans.

2. Heat the olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add beans, 2 1/2 cups water, oregano, red pepper, cumin, broth, and chiles; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

3. Place half of bean mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup. Return to pan. Stir in tomato paste and salt; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ladle 1 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1/3 cup chopped eggs. Sprinkle each serving with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

Nutrients per serving: Calories 235, Total Fat 4.2 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 135 mg, Carbohydrate 33.2 g, Protein 13.7 g, Sodium 631 mg, Fiber 5.3 g Calcium 50 mg Iron 3.1 mg