I've mentioned before how much I love to make soup. It's so comforting to have the aroma fill your home as it simmers, and such a warm, satisfying meal to enjoy during our endless winter. (Side note - Atlantans aren't used to this never-ending cold weather! When is spring going to be here?!)
I had torn out a page from Cooking Light's October 2009 issue detailing "creamy soup basics" - Creamy Celeriac Soup and Black Bean Soup were the tutorials. Since John and I both love black beans I decided this would be a fun recipe to make and to add to my "portfolio." It was topped with a "Crema Mexicana" which is basically a mixture of reduced fat sour cream, diced jalapeno pepper (John chopped and I had him leave in some seeds for me!), chopped fresh cilantro, and minced garlic. I definitely think that the crema made the soup - it added a really fresh taste and a creamy, rich texture to this otherwise light dish. I can't technically call this a vegetarian dish because there is chicken broth in the recipe, but if you're a vegetarian you could easily substitute vegetable broth and I'm sure it would turn out equally as good. I love the "clean out the pantry" game and this definitely helped me get rid of some stuff that had been in there for a while - canned black beans, a box of chicken broth, tomato paste, and lots of dried herbs.
I hope you're all having a good week - I've been busy with work as usual and am battling some serious grandma knees. Ran 7 miles on the treadmill yesterday and hobbled around on my sales calls hoping no one was noticing me holding on to the railing going up and down stairs. I iced again this morning even though I didn't run today, and if they're not feeling better tomorrow I plan to do my 4 mile run on the elliptical instead of on the pavement or treadmill. Gotta save these babies for Saturday's (cold) fifteen miler!
Here's the recipe for Black Bean Soup - it serves 4 - we ate it and then I froze the rest. Enjoy!
Creamy Black Bean Soup
Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light
2 cans organic black beans
3/4 cup chopped onion
7 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup sour cream
Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to be translucent. Add 5 garlic cloves, cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium high and add the beans (rinsed and drained), broth, water, tomato paste, herbs and salt, and green chiles. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour.
Place half of the mixture into a blender, using a ladle. This step is important - I didn't follow this direction first go round and was left with pureed beans all over my kitchen cabinets! Remove center piece of blender lid and secure blender lid on the blender. Cover with a clean towel. Process until the soup is the consistency you want it - I like mine slightly chunky so didn't process until completely smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl and repeat until all of the soup is pureed. Then return it to the pan and continue to cook until you're ready to serve.
For the crema, mix the sour cream, jalapeno, cilantro, and 2 cloves of garlic.
Place a dollop of the crema in the soup and serve.