Black Bean Soup
Last night I hit a home run with a dinner that pleased a carnivore (my husband) and a quasi vegetarian (my daughter) and it took me all of 15 minutes to make. I was beside myself with joy, really. Several times a week I make something different for dinner and when I hear silence (which I often do), I don’t even have to ask “Is this a repeat?” anymore as I know the answer. But, I keep trying because I love variation, flavor, and the discovery of a new dish. At my core, I believe food is fuel but I also want to enjoy a meal. Comfort food and old standbys aside, enjoying a meal is also discovering a flavor that wakes up your taste buds and brings a new excitement to eating while nourishing your body.
I made Black Bean Soup with homemade croutons and all the toppings (chopped tomato, chopped onions, and diced avocado). The recipe is a variation of a Cooks Illustrated (www.cooksillustrated.com) recipe called “Quick Black Bean Soup with Avocado” that I adapted to suit my tastes: more onion, less red pepper and garlic, vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and the addition of bay leaves. The comments from my family ranged from “Anne, this is really, really good” to “Mom, can you make this again tomorrow?” I was glowing inside. And, when they got up from the table to get seconds and then fought over who was going to score the last spoon full, I couldn’t help but gloat.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat until the oil becomes fragrant.
- Add the onions, red pepper, and salt.
- Saute the onions and peppers until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chipotle chili and cumin, stir and saute for about 20 seconds.
- Drain and rinse the black beans. Puree one cup of vegetable broth and half of the beans in a food processor until smooth.
- Stir pureed beans, the remainder of the whole black beans, and remaining broth into the pot.
- Add the bay leaves.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and discard.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado or homemade croutons (recipe follows).
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat.
- Place the cubed bread into the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, turning the cubes every few minutes.