One evening when Denver was in the middle of a late winter cold spell, I was in the mood for a nice hardy vegetable soup but I wanted a black bean/tortilla soup flavor. So I searched online and one of the first recipes I discovered served as great inspiration. It is the Simply Recipes Black Bean Soup recipe.
What I like about it and hadn't thought of before was to use the standard vegetable stock trinity (onions, celery, carrots) in a black bean soup while still adding the cumin and chile powder flavors. It gave the soup more depth of flavor than just using the spices alone. Then adding the sweet potato and red peppers helped bulk the soup up and turn it into a meal. I skipped the ham hock part but that would give it even more depth of flavor.
Be sure to give this recipe a try when you are in the mood for something homey and warm.
- 1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed and cooked in a pressure cooker or 2 14oz cans drained
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped sweet potato (or sub equal amount of carrot)
- 1 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda (to reduce gas side effects of beans)
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or 3 cups water + bouillon)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Prepare the black beans in a pressure cooker using 4 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoon baking powder. Set to Bean/Chili for 30 minutes and allow to rest for 10 minutes before releasing pressure. Drain and set aside.
- In a soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and add onion, celery, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft and beginning to brown.
- Add the bay leaf, salt, and seasonings and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the stock, sugar, and beans and cook covered for 20-30 minutes.
- If a creamy consistency is desired, blend 1-2 cups of soup until smooth then add back into the pot.
- Stir in lime juice, test for salt and add more if needed, then serve.
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