Saturday, November 17, 2012

Black Bean Soup

I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news- I had to say good bye to a good friend. Yes, we had a hard frost last week and we lost the volunteer grape tomato. I picked as many tomatoes as I could, both red and green, before the cold shriveled the life out of it. It’s amazing that I could harvest tomatoes in November, not to mention how amazing it is that the plant showed up in the first place. Still, I was sad to see it go.

And for the good news- I found my recipe for Black Bean Soup and I'm totally over the tomato plant! Now that I found the recipe I can finally share it with you. I was going to wing it. I basically recalled all the items that went into it (well, except one). The recipe, if you could call it that, was just a list of ingredients anyway, some with no amounts. Still it was a thrill to find it ‘cause it meant I wasn’t going crazy and I did indeed write down a basic framework and put it in the book that I thought I had put it in but for some reason just could never find. 

I got this recipe from the guy who was the chef at the restaurant when I bought into it although he left shortly thereafter, providing me with my first big challenge as a restaurant owner- finding a chef. Well, this soup so makes up for that whole thing (imagine me waving my hands in front of me to convey the enormity of that whole thing). This soup is soooo out-of-this-world delicious! It’s like the lobster bisque of bean soups. No, it’s like the lobster of bean soups. It has a depth of flavor that elevates it above the rustic profile normally associated with soups of the bean nature. It’s good, let me tell you. I know this because Kenny likes it and he even asked for seconds, and he really doesn’t like black bean soup. Seconds from a guy who doesn't like it, it’s that good. And good for you, yes, black beans are so good for you. But you won’t think you’re eating health food, no, this soup tastes decadent. Even the vegan version (without chicken stock, sour cream or butter on your roll) is super charged with flavor.

Don't be intimidated by all the ingredients, some of which you may not have on hand. The first 11 ingredients are just a supped up (no pun intended) mirepoix. Go out and buy the Kitchen Bouquet. You’re going to need it when they beg you to please make that black bean soup again.

Black Bean Soup

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery (I used organic)
1 cup finely chopped carrot
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
2-3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup cooking sherry
A dash or two Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet
Salt and pepper to taste
sour cream (optional for garnish)

In a large pot add olive oil, onion, pepper, celery, carrot, garlic, all the spices and bay leaves. Cook on medium high, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Stir in flour and 1 cup of stock. Cook until mixture thickens. Add 1 more cup of stock and black beans and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Transfer 3 or 4 cups of soup to a food processor or blender and process until liquid; return to pot. Add Worcestershire, tomato paste, Kitchen Bouquet and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until warm and use remaining stock if soup gets too thick. Serve with sour cream and a dash of tabasco.

Have you ever lost a recipe and tried to wing it? I'd love to hear your story. Drop me an email or post a comment!
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1 comment:

  1. OK, I need this soup right now because it's freezing in my home town! Thanks for sharing this warm recipe:)