Meatless Monday: Black Bean Soup

     I love black beans.  They are versatile and oh so tasty.  Here they are showcased in a delicious soup.  I started out with dried beans but if hard pressed for time canned beans would work too.  Plan ahead if using dried beans, they need to soak over night and take a while to cook.  But it is well worth the time and effort. It gives the soup time to develop a depth of flavor so important to vegetarian dishes.  Serve it up with a variety of accompaniments to make a simple soup taste outstanding, customizable to the palate and diet of each diner.  An enviable smorgasbord of flavors, textures, tastes and colors.


Black Bean Soup print

16 oz dried black beans
3 carrots
1 red onion
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
2 serrano chilies
3 stalks celery
3 Tbsp spice blend
1 tsp smoked hot paprika
8 cups water
1 lemon
kosher salt
olive oil

Accompaniments:

chopped cilantro
white cheddar cheese shredded
chopped avocado
green onions chopped
greek yogurt
Tabasco® brand green or chipotle pepper sauce
Sriracha sauce
lime or lemon wedges
chopped fresh serrano chilies
cooked yellow rice

Directions:

     Rinse dried beans and pick through discarding any discolored beans.  Place beans in large bowl and cover with water about 2 to 3 inches above beans. Let set overnight. In the morning drain and rinse beans again.

     Preheat oven to 400º F.  Peel and chop carrots, cut red onion in half and chop roughly.  Place carrots and whole serrano chilies on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat and season with salt.  Roast for 15 minutes in preheated oven.  After 15 minutes add red onion to baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes more until carrots are tender, onions are caramelized, and chilies are blistered. 
     While vegetables are roasting in oven, finely dice yellow onion, garlic and celery and add to dutch oven. Sauté seasoning with salt until tender and onions are slightly caramelized. Add soaked, drained and rinsed beans to dutch oven, 3 Tbsp spice blend, and 6 cups of water. Cook over medium to low heat, covered, stirring occasionally.
     Once vegetables are roasted, set chilies aside and place carrots, red onions and any liquids that are on baking sheet in food processor. Pulse until pureed, scraping down sides occasionally as needed.  Add 1 cup of cooking liquid from dutch oven to food processor and blend to liquify. Add mixture back into beans in dutch oven. Remove blistered skins and stems from chilies and cut in half removing seeds with spoon. Chop and add to beans. Cook beans until tender (approx. 3 hours) adding additional water as needed.
     After beans are cooked, transfer half of soup to food processor and puree.  Return to dutch oven. Add 1 tsp smoked hot paprika, 2 tsp kosher salt, squeeze juice of one lemon into soup being careful to strain out any seeds.  Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with accompaniments as desired and as diet choices allow.

Beer pairings Eric recommends: Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald

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