Bellywarming American Black Bean Soup

Have I mentioned that I LOVE soup? What could be better on these increasingly chilly days than a big bowl of warm and delicious? While I’ve shared quite a few soups with you (you’ll see they have their own category on the sidebar), I’ve admittedly been in a bit of a soup rut.  My Go To soups are really delicious, but after a while, the kids “THAT one again?” resonates a little too deeply.  I’ve gotten a little tired of my faves, and so went a wandering, with too little time for prep and a well stocked pantry. Problem solved.

Apparently it is possible to make black bean soup that is not Southwestern.  It had never occurred to me, despite my bean friendliness, to use those guys for a different flavor profile – talk about being in a rut! Once again my friend Deborah Madison (perhaps I should just call these posts Little Sis and Deborah), showed me the way out of my self-inflicted black bean tunnel vision.

IMG_0270Ms. Madison suggests a simple American styled black bean soup, and with a few adjustments it worked stupendously for Mr. Little Sis and I. After the whole crew tasted it, with lackluster response, Mr. Little Sis and I decided that since the kids had passed on it anyway, we would in fact add the bit of Madeira called for in the original version, and boy howdy was it great, even with my radically shortened cooking time.  This one would go gangbusters in a slow cooker. I finished the last bowl tonight and am happy to report that, as with so many soups, it’s even better after a few days.

American Black Bean Soup – adapted for speed and dairy considerations from Deborah Madison’s Black Bean Soup in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

  • olive oil for the potIMG_0263
  • 2 c onion, chopped
  • 1 c celery, chopped
  • 1 c carrot, chopped small
  • 2 c green pepper chopped small
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 t chopped rosemary
  • 2 t dried thyme
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 4 c black beans, soaked, cooked and drained or drained and rinsed from cans
  • 4 quarts water
  • leftover grains if desired (I used 1.5 c cooked brown rice)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 c Madeira
  • 1 c coconut milk (or cream)
  • chopped parsley

Warm oil in the pot.  Add onions and saute for a few minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies and herbs and cook until the color deepens a bit. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute.  Add the beans and the water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered for at least 20 minutes.  Add salt to taste and grains if using.  Cook and additional 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and puree as much of the soup as your textural preferences dictate.  A smoother puree can be achieved in a blender, but I don’t like to do all that pouring of hot soup, so I use an immersion blender.  Add Madeira and coconut milk (or cream if you do moo). Serve with chopped parsley.  Wow.  So simple, so delish.  Perfect wholesome antidote for Halloween’s madness.

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Halloween Madness

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Gingery Sweet Potato Black bean soup

Wow!  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted!  Little Sis and I have another project up our sleeves and she’s been holding down the fort with incredible food and garden posts while I’ve been working on our other project.  It is so nice being part of a team – especially with Little Sis!

Seems like lately I have found myself elaborating on our own creations rather than starting from scratch or adapting other people’s brilliance to my palate (or ingredient list).  In fact I am going to have to write another post with updates and twists on some of our recipes…. the least we can do is tell you if we figured out how to make it easier or better, right?

Besides busy-ness, an additional test to my culinary creativity is that Mr Bigg Sis has now been advised to avoid tomatoes, peppers, soy and corn as well as dairy and wheat.  You’re killing me Mr. Integrative-Physician-Man!   Did he provide us any recipes?  No.  However, he is a nice man, and, as is true to the name of the blog, a peep in the pantry revealed some ingredients calling to be introduced, or thrown into a speed dating situation with an old stand-by to see what kind of lasting relationship might result.  I think a cooking show should take up the speed dating of ingredients idea to find new interesting pairings, but then again, I’m a little strange 🙂

Looking for love or not, sweet potatoes are always a good starting point for me.  I thought I’d build on Shweet Potato Stew by adding some new ingredients and flavors.  I’m happy to report that a second date is definitely in the offing and while I don’t like to rush anyone, all sides apparently see the potential for lasting bliss.  The result? Continue reading