Hello there. Sorry for the short hiatus; I have been busy planning for the future. Now I’m ready to take a bit of a break from planning, so buckle in and settle down, folks, because I’ve got a lot of recipes comin’ at ya.
Let’s start with soup. Black bean soup. I’m discovering that I really like to make a complex, lots-of-leftovers dinner on Sunday afternoons so that I’ll have lunch for the week. I like taking the time to follow a recipe with more ingredients than usual, more chopping and slicing and measuring and dicing, since a dwindling Sunday afternoon isn’t useful for much else. My last undertaking was this soup, which wasn’t too tremendously complex, but, man, that was a lot of leftovers. This recipe makes a LOT of soup. It says it serves eight, but I’m thinking maybe that’s eight marathoners, or mythical giants. If you make the full batch, feel free to freeze some.
So. I don’t have a lot of experience with bean soup. In theory it’s always seemed like a good idea, but in practice… that’s a whole lot of bean. But this recipe was intriguing because it uses a can of pumpkin puree to smooth and thicken the texture the of the soup. I really can’t resist anything that calls for pumpkin, and even though you can’t taste it among the spices and beans, it really does add an impressive velvety texture.
One thing that I wasn’t so much thrilled about was how despite all the sauteing and time simmering, the onions somehow stayed kind of crunchy. I was not a fan. But the flavor of the soup was quite good, and if I make it again, I’ll chop the onions even finer and saute for a bit longer.
This soup just screamed for a side of cornbread, so I whipped up a quick, tiny batch in my mini loaf pan. I overcooked it a little, so it was kind of dry, but I’d like to try it again sometime to see what it’s like when it’s properly baked. Do me a favor — give it a try and see what you think. If you have a mini loaf pan, that is. If you don’t, well, you should get one, because they’re only a couple of bucks, and they are cute.
Black Bean Soup
3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 T. olive oil
1 & 3/4 C. finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 & 1/2 T. ground cumin
1 T. chopped canned chipotle chiles*
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
4 & 1/4 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 T. fresh lime juice
3/4 plain nonfat yogurt (or sour cream)
Optional: 1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro leaves (or chives)
*I couldn’t find these at the grocery store, so I just used regular canned chiles.
In a food processor, coarsely puree the beans and tomatoes with their juices. (Unless you have an enormous food processor, you’ll have to do this in batches.) If you don’t have a food processor, a blender would do just fine.
Heat the oil in a large (and I mean large) saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Cook and stir 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent. (And then cook a little longer, just to be sure it’s soft and not all crunchy-like.) Add the garlic, cumin, chiles, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in the bean puree, broth, and pumpkin until blended. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with dollops of the yogurt or sour cream.
3 tsp. unsalted butter
1/3 C. buttermilk
2 tsp. light or dark molasses (I used honey)
White of 1 large egg
1/2 C. yellow or white cornmeal
1 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 450. Put butter in a mini loaf pan (or another pan with a 3/4-cup capacity, such as a jumbo muffin tin) and place in oven to melt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, molasses or honey, and egg white. In another bowl, stir together the cornmeal, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined.
Spread batter in buttered pan and bake for 9 – 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the loaf is springy to the touch. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm, slathered in butter.