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18 March, 2010

Black Bean Soup (or Dip!)

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Here’s a recipe found on RecipeZaar.com that we make somewhat regularly (and “we” here meaning Punkin specifically, I just get to taste test and blog it). It’s spicy, zippy and bursting with yum. The nifty thing about this is that the day it’s made, we eat it as a hearty soup. That takes care of 2 of the 6 serving amount made; the remainder goes into the fridge and becomes a really great dip for tortilla chips or raw dipping veggies over the next few days… if it manages to survive that long.

This recipe uses one whole fresh jalapeño, leaving out the seeds. It’s got a nice kick but since it’s only 1/6 of one pepper per serving, it isn’t deadly hot by any means. If you do like spicy hot foods, include the seed. If the idea of spicy food scares you a little, cut back on the amount or leave it out completely, although that does skip on part of this soup/dip’s appeal. The soup will still be delicious, just a lot more tame.

This recipe can easily be switched to a vegetarian one; see Note after the ingredients.

As noted already, Punkin made this and it wasn’t intended to be part of the blog, so there aren’t any pics of the process – which is basically just sautéing and simmering. I hope the above photo is enticing enough for some of you to give this a try.

BLACK BEAN SOUP

SERVES 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb black beans
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 lb bacon, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 cups chicken broth or beef broth
  • salt

NOTE: For a Vegetarian dish, switch out the bacon with TVP (textured veg protein) or simply omit, and use vegetable broth.

Directions

Soak beans overnight in the water OR bring to boil then let stand for 1 hour; drain.

Cook bacon in heavy, large pot over medium heat until golden brown and crisp, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

Mix in garlic, celery, carrot, onion, jalapeño and bay leaf.

Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne and pepper.

Stir until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the drained beans and broth.

Cook at a slow boil (more than a simmer) until beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Season with salt. Find and remove bay leaf.

Serve hot, topped with chopped red onions, a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives.

Extra Tips:

• Add more broth to make a thinner soup if you prefer.

• To make a hearty, thicker soup, as seen in above photo, use a potato masher or food processor to mash the mixture slightly.

• For a really great party dip, mash to a coarser batter-like consistency and refrigerate. Serve with tortilla chips, thinly sliced bread or your favourite crudités.

Total time including cooking: ~3 hrs (if you use the ‘boiled beans’ method).
Prep time: 45 minutes
Calories per serving: With bacon: 264, Without: 163

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