Stock up on a few pantry items including the always versatile protein; BEANS! HN created this incredibly easy BLACK BEAN SOUP for our WINTER REBOOT MEAL PLAN and our clients loved it. You can make it with items you have on hand. Don't forget, soups like this are easy to freeze. Use jam or salsa jars you might recycle and store the soup in the freezer for quick lunches or dinners.
Easiest Black Bean Soup
Made from pantry staples and a few fresh vegetables
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp cumin or more to taste
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 cans black beans, not drained
1 cup of your favorite salsa
1 cup broth or water
1 avocado, sliced
thinly sliced red onion
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, and garlic. Sauté until soft.
Add the salt, cumin, bay leaf and smoked paprika if using, sauté for a minute.
Add the beans, both/water and salsa. Cook for 15-20 minutes to meld flavors. Remove bay leaf.
Blend until smooth if desired or leave chunky.
Serve with avocado, cilantro, red onions, lime and salsa to taste.
If you want to take a bit more time, this recipe from the NY Times by Julia Moskin uses dried black beans. We love RANCHO GORDO beans, but any supermarket brand will do. The recipe makes A LOT, so is perfect for sharing or saving!
Jessica Emily Marx for The New York Times
BEST BLACK BEAN SOUP
1 small (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red wine
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 pound dry black beans (do not soak)2 quarts mild vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Red wine vinegar, to taste
FOR THE PICKLED ONIONS AND GARNISHES (OPTIONAL):
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes
Sour cream or Mexican crema
Whole cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced fresh chiles
Empty the can of chiles into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, scrape into a container, and set aside.
Put on a teakettle of water to boil, and keep hot.
In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots, onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
Pour in wine and let simmer until pan is almost dry and vegetables are coated.
Add jalapeños and cook, stirring, just until softened, 2 minutes.
Push the vegetables out to the edges of the pot and dollop 2 teaspoons of chipotle purée in the center. Let fry for a minute and then stir together with the vegetables.Add beans, stock, oregano and bay leaves. Stir, bring to a boil, and let boil 10 to 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partly covered, stirring occasionally and adding hot water as needed to keep the soup liquid and runny, not sludgy.
Continue cooking until beans are just softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 hours. Add salt and pepper and keep cooking until beans are soft.
Adjust the texture of the soup: The goal is to combine whole beans, soft chunks and a velvety broth. Some beans release enough starch while cooking to produce a thick broth without puréeing. If soup seems thin, use an immersion blender or blender to purée a small amount of the beans until smooth, then stir back in. Continue until desired texture is reached, keeping in mind that the soup will continue to thicken as it sits.
Heat the soup through, taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, drops of red wine vinegar and dabs of chipotle purée.
Serve in deep bowls, garnishing each serving with sour cream, pickled onions, cilantro leaves, sliced chiles and avocado as desired.
Meanwhile, make the pickled onions, if using:
In a bowl, combine sliced onions, lime juice and a sprinkling of salt.
Let soften at room temperature until crunchy and tart, about 30 minutes.
Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze dry in paper towels and refrigerate until ready to serve. If desired, chop coarsely before serving.