August 10, 2017

Black-Bean Soup

Garlic-pepper sauce being made
This post has been an intention, and this recipe a loved one, for so long that I had photos in here of baby food jars, filled with it and ready to freeze. Margaret has always loooved this soup. And well she should, because it is delicious. The name and the fact that it is a gray, pureed soup makes me never really crave it or remember how good it is. But when we make it and actually eat it, the flavors are just so alive and bright; it is really startling how tasty it is. I think the fresh lime juice, as in most things, makes a big difference, so again I think it's super important to keep a few fresh ones in the crisper. I have made a really quick simple meal of this soup on weeknights alongside grilled cheese because all you really need to have are the cans of beans and the garlic-pepper sauce stored in the freezer (one of the few pre-made and frozen meals I seem to reliably keep on hand these days). I have also given a batch of the soup, along with a quiche, as a dinner for new parents or a coworker-- packs up nicely to give away and can be frozen or eaten right away. We haven't had it in a while but before we know it it will be soup season so here it is! I've been lucky enough to be invited to a super-fun (and super productive in the sense of filling the freezer with pre-made meals) soup swap a few years in a row. Once I brought carrot soup and once I brought this Thai-coconut one (also limey and bright tasting); maybe this winter I will bring this.

Oh and I really love having an immersion blender, recommended for this recipe. The blade end pops apart from the plug-in part and goes in the dishwasher as one piece and cleans well. It is a gadget surprisingly well worth having. I don't miss splashing hot soup batch by batch into a blender.

Black-Bean Soup

1 C garlic-pepper sauce (recipe below; I make this and freeze it in one-cup Pyrex and it is enough to make the soup a half dozen times or more)
14.5 oz. chicken broth
1/2 C water 
2 15.5-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
salt and pepper
2 - 3 t fresh lime juice (or up to half a lime that we squeeze in)
(optional: sour cream on top which we don't feel it needs) 

In a large saucepan, heat garlic-pepper sauce over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. 

Stir in beans, broth, and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. 

Puree with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper. 

Squeeze in lime juice, stir, and serve. (Serve topped with sour cream or yogurt if desired.)

Garlic-Pepper Sauce

3 T olive oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 green bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
2 red bell peppers, " " 
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried oregano
1 t ground cumin
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
3 C mixed cilantro leaves and tender stems 
salt and pepper

In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion. Cook, stirring often, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. 

Add peppers, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Cook, stirring often, until peppers are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomato. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes more. 

Transfer to a food processor/blender (or get out immersion blender). Add cilantro, and puree until slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper. 

Transfer sauce in 1-cup quantities, to containers to freeze and use as needed to make a batch of soup, above. 


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