First recipe of the new year! Exciting stuff, right? More like weird stuff since I continue believing the 90’s were just a few years back. Nope, 18 years ago. 18 years. Call me basic, but seriously, I can’t even.
Anyways, soups and stews are popular items when I cook for clients. As a personal chef, I make 3-4 meals in 1 day and leave them in the fridge, ready to reheat. Soups and stews are great for this because they’re easy to reheat on the stovetop, and they don’t lose too much texture or moisture. Plus, soups actually get tastier 1-2 days after cooking because the flavors have time to merry.
As I make more and more of this type of recipe, I’ve become more and more obsessed with soup experimentation and taste testing (rough job I know, but someone’s gotta do it). Soups are easy to make, easy to get creative with and easy on the tastebuds. Plus, it’s easy to make healthful, clean and balanced soups that nourish & defend the body. That’s a lot of easiness going on here.
Today’s soup is a childhood favorite of mine – zesty, flavorful and simple Black Bean Soup. This recipe is my version of a classic black bean soup and it’s sure to become a favorite.
As I said before, and appropriate for the new year, this soup fits perfectly into a healthy, clean and balanced lifestyle. The black beans provide tons of satisfying fiber and protein without gluten, eggs, meat or dairy. Plus, the beans together with the veggies, add loads of phytochemcials (chemicals found in plant-based foods). These phytochemicals act as antioxidants, known to protect the body against disease and illness. Tastes good and good for you? That’s my kind of food!
Classic Black Bean Soup
Yield: 12 cups Servings: 6 entree or 10 starter
1 lb dry black beans, soaked & fully cooked (or 4 14-oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 medium-large sweet bell pepper, seeds & ribs removed, finely diced
1 medium-large carrot, peeled & finely diced
sea salt, fine grain
5 medium-large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-large jalapeño pepper, ribs & seeds removed, minced
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
4 cups vegetable stock or broth, low sodium preferred (chicken stock works too)
1 14oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes*
1 4oz can mild green chilies*
1-2 bayleaves, I used 2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) fresh lime juice, or to taste
If using dry beans, hot or cold soak the beans, then cook until tender and drain. If using canned beans, get them drained/rinsed and you’re ready to go.
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion, bell pepper, carrot and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Sauté until softened, 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add minced garlic & jalapeño. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spices. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (beans, stock, tomatoes, chilies, bayleaves) plus 2 cups water & 2 teaspoons sea salt. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off heat. Remove and discard bay leaves. Transfer 4-5 cups of soup to a blender or a vessel for an immersion blender.* Be sure to use equal amounts of broth and solids. Blend until smooth. Add puréed soup back into pot. Season with more salt to taste and add lime juice to taste, 1 teaspoon at a time. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve with desired accompaniments – shredded cheese, cooked rice, plain yogurt, cabbage, avocado, cilantro, pickled onions & jalapeños, etc.
*if using a blender, be very careful with the hot soup – pressure can build up in the blender and cause the soup to explode
*can’t find fire roasted tomatoes? any form of crushed tomatoes will work. You can also purée diced canned tomatoes or purée fresh tomatoes (1.5-2 cups worth)
*I consider this soup mildly spicy – it has a slight kick, but nothing overwhelming
*if cooking for particularly heat sensitive foodies or young ones, reduce cayenne to 1/8 teaspoon or eliminate it all together
*for more heat, use a spicy hatch green chilie variety instead of a mild one and/or keep the jalapeño ribs and seeds instead of removing/discarding