While I adore winter soups and stews, and some of my favourite produce is abundant during the winter (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, kale), sometimes the local produce gets to me by the end of the season. One way to beat the winter blahs, is to incorporate fruit into my meals. This time of the year, citrus is abundant, which is a good way to liven any dish. One of my favourite soups this winter was the Spinach, Orange, Yam Soup, due to the lightness from the fresh orange juice. This week, I hope to highlights different ways of including tropical fruit into your meals.
Beans are a good way to add heartiness to a soup, and this is a hearty, healthy and tasty black bean soup. I first spotted this recipe for Brazilian Black Bean Soup on Joanne’s blog Eats Well With Others, and was amused because I also have The Tropical Vegan Kitchen but had skimmed over the recipe (oh so many recipes on my hit-list). I loved Joanne’s modifications, where she substituted mango juice for the orange juice, increased the vegetables and omitted the rice. I substituted the tomato with 1/3 cup of pureed tomatoes, removed additional stock and used red pepper instead of green. This would constitute all the components for a delicious soup, but the spices brought this soup to the next level: it includes cinnamon, cloves and thyme. Seemingly so different, but a wonderful merriment of content. This soup is like a Brazilian party on your tongue.
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Jaya at Desi Soccer Mom, E.A.T. World for Brazil and this month’s No Croutons Required featuring legumes (since I was born in June).
Brazilian Black Bean Soup
1 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1/2 tsp salt
2×3″ piece of kombu (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
3/4 cup mango nectar or juice
1/3 cup passata (or canned pureed/diced tomatoes, or 1 tomato)
1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup or sugar)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1. Drain the beans and place in a medium stockpot with water to cover by 1 inch (I used a 6 qt pot). Add the 1/2 tsp salt and kombu and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to between low and medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Set aside and do not drain.
2. In a medium, deep-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion, bell pepper, and carrot. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the veggies to the stockpot containing the cooked beans and their liquid. Add the broth (optional), mango juice, passada, sugar, cumin, thyme, cloves, chili flakes, and black pepper as well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and discard kombu. Using an immersion blender, blend until you reach your desired consistency (otherwise remove a portion of the soup you’d like to keep whole). Return soup to the pot and stir in the cilantro, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with additional salt. Stir in the vinegar. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and serve warm.