First of all, you guys are awesome. You guys are word wizards! I love it!
(And yes, I realize there is a selection bias based on who chooses to write a comment, but still…)
Second of all, did you catch the recent posts all about beans? Like “5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Avoid Eating Beans” on Breaking Muscle? Or Ginny’s recent post on The Vegan RD called “Plant Protein: Why Vegans Need Beans“? Both are very well done posts about beans. Bucking the paleo trend, Jeff points out common (or quite uncommon) misconceptions about beans and why you should be eating them. Ginny makes a great case why beans are the best source of protein that is relevant for vegans and non-vegans alike.
You know it. Beans are my fuel, too. Oftentimes, I get stuck in the land of chickpeas and lentils when there are actually a lot more beans out there. With the Mexican slant in Houston, I have been gobbling up black beans with much gusto as of late. Mexican black bean dip, black bean tostadas, Mexican zucchini lasagna, black bean and sweet potato tamales and even black bean tortilla soup. And here we go with another Mexican-inspired black bean soup.
This is an absolutely delicious soup. However, there is an asterisk. It tastes good because you coax all the goodness out of each ingredient individually. Translation: it is a bit labour-intensive but so worth it.
Caramelize your onions and carrots. Roast your red bell pepper. Make your own Ancho chile puree. Freshly toast your cumin seeds. If you have the time, prepare your beans from scratch. Squirt on some lime juice and scatter cilantro throughout. Yeah.
Take the time to tend to this soup and you will not be disappointed. In fact, I recommend you double the recipe so that you can freeze your bounty.
Want to take the short cuts? I am sure this will still be a delicious soup: soften your onion and carrot with the red pepper, throw in your pre-cooked/canned beans, swap Ancho chile powder for the puree, forego the cumin toasting. It can all be done and will still be delicious.
Here’s to more more beans!
This is my submission to this week’s Souper Sundays.
Black Bean Soup with Roasted Red Peppers, Lime and Cilantro
Adapted from Love Soup
1 cup dried black beans, rinsed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 tsp salt. or to taste
1 tbsp olive oil or oil of choice
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (chop them a bit smaller than mine)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 large red bell pepper
1.5 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 small bunch cilantro
1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice (half a lime), or to taste
1 tbsp ancho chile puree (1 dried ancho chile + 1 cloves garlic + sea salt)
1. In a medium pot, place beans and cover with 2″ water (you may need to add more water, so monitor it as you add the other ingredients). Add half the onion and garlic. Bring a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer. Simmer until beans are soft, around 1-2 hours, depending on your bean.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Once hot, add carrots and the remaining onions. Sprinkle with salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and stirring occasionally, cook until the vegetables soften and brown, almost caramelizing, around half an hour. Stir in the remaining garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes. When they are done, deglaze with a bit of vegetable stock to get all those brown bits from the bottom. Add to the pot of beans.
3. As the vegetables are caramelizing, roast your peppers. If you don’t have a gas flame (me neither), preheat the oven broiler. Line a small roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place the pepper halves in the pan, cut side down, and place in the oven on the shelf closest to the broiler. Broil until the pepper skins are completely black, about 8-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, wrap the pepper in the foil and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and rub off the skins of the peppers. Chop and add to the soup.
4. Make your ancho chile puree by bringing a 3/4 cup water to a boil. Soak the dry Ancho chile until softened. Using a food processor or blender, blend the Ancho chile, its soaking water, 1 clove or garlic and salt until you reach a smooth consistency. Add 1 tbsp (or to taste) to the soup.
5. In a small skillet, toast cumin seeds. Grind and add to the soup.
6. Chop half the cilantro and stir into the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with fresh lime juice. Season to taste. Add more water or vegetable broth if desired. Chop the remaining cilantro and sprinkle as a garnish.