Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Smoky Spicy Crock Pot (or stovetop) Black Bean Soup

NOTE: Edited to add pictures and cooking notes on time and liquid used.

I love crock pot meals, but sometimes find it hard to find the right inspiration.  Often recipes made for the crock pot are bland and boring, but this morning I was inspired to come up with a soup that's got nice big flavors. This comes together simply, so it's easy to throw together first thing in the morning and then forget about for the rest of the day.  (If you are adding the sweet potato or other vegetables, for optimal texture you should plan to add those 2 or 3 hours before serving time, which is my ONLY fussy suggestion for this recipe)
Please feel free to adjust the seasoning to make the soup exactly the way you and your family will enjoy it best -- more or less spicy, more vegetables, etc.  As usual, I've made this soup using what I've got on hand -- that sweet potato has been hanging out in the crisper long enough and must be used TODAY.  I'll take a picture of the finished soup and add it to the blog tonight when I serve it, but in case you'd like to make some today too, here's the recipe:

Crockpot Black Bean Soup
 Inspired by the Weelicious recipe found here

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight
1 28-oz can crushed (or diced or whole) tomatoes
2 cups water or chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of Better Than Bullion Chicken paste or Bullion (OPTIONAL if using water instead of broth)
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon corriander
1 Chipotole chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 sweet potato – peeled and cut to 1/2” cubes
Salt to taste

To garnish (optional, but makes the soup really special):
Red onion, minced
Scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
Cilantro, chopped
Sour cream
fresh Jalapenos, minced
Shredded cheddar or crumbled goat cheese or feta

To serve with (also optional, but makes it more filling therefore making this soup stretch further):
One pot of cooked brown rice (I prefer short-grain, which is a bit sweeter and less starchy tasting than the long-grain sort, but any kind will work well) or white rice (we like Jasmine or Basmati).

NOTE: make sure to soak your beans overnight before you start, or this may increase the cooking time. Alternately you can use the quick-soak method (bring a pot of beans and water to a boil, turn it off and soak for 1 hour, continue with recipe as written).  From start to finish, it took me 10 hours to get the beans really tender.  Next time I will boil them for at least 30 minutes to get them a little bit soft before starting the recipe.

Sauté onion in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until light golden and translucent.  Add minced garlic and sauté for one minute more (until fragrant). Scrape onion and garlic into crock pot.  (If you are using garlic powder instead, do not sauté that – wait to add it with the other spices in the crock pot.)

Add soaked black beans, crushed tomatoes, water or broth, Better Than Bullion or Bullion (if using water instead of broth – don’t worry if you don’t have any – you can just add more salt and adjust seasonings later), Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, minced Chipotle, and garlic powder if using. 

Give everything a stir, cover, and set your crock pot to “low”.  After 5 or 6 hours, add cubed sweet potato.  Cook for approx 8-10 hours total, or until beans are tender.  (If you are doing this stovetop, bring up to a boil with top OFF so that it doesn't boil over, reduce heat to medum-low to simmer, cover and cook for approx. 1 to 1-1/2 hours till beans are tender)  Puree partially or completely (depending on your preference) with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a blender or a food processor.  

Serve plain or over rice (to make it extra filling for big families) and have small bowls of suggested garnishes at the table for everyone to “decorate” their own bowl.



1 comment:

a.susie said...

This sounds really great. I adore black beans. They are my very favorite bean. I have a Black Bean Soup recipe that I have made since the kids were small but this sounds worth a try as an alternate. I have also read a lot lately about the health value of cocoa and its uses in cooking. I came across a Black Bean Soup recipe that includes cocoa in it and its supposed to give a subtle but fantastic flavor. Once I try it I'll post it on my Dairy...if it's a success that is.