It was the first snowfall of the winter here in DC yesterday which means it was a perfect day to stay inside and make a pot of soup. I found an old recipe card of mine titled *Best Black Bean Soup* so I thought it was time to make it again and see if I still thought it was the best Black Bean Soup around.
I have to say it’s a damn good recipe! I’m not sure how long ago I wrote the recipe down and I have no idea if I made it up or used another recipe. I’m convinced it was a very long time ago. Most likely from my vegetarian days during the early 1990’s. Here’s the original recipe card:
I intended to follow the recipe exactly, but ended up making a few minor changes along the way (written in black on the card). I used an entire package of dried black beans which was more than the 2 cups called for (I didn’t want a few dried black beans leftover). I sautéed all the veggies together at the same time (just seemed easier). I added lime juice instead of lemon (sounded like a better match), and added a little liquid smoke and some chipotle chili powder (I wanted a bit more smokey-spice taste to it). If you don’t want to add the chipotle chili powder, leave it out. The original recipe I had written down had the jalapeño as optional. I added it. I like it. If you don’t, leave it out.
I’m sure you could use a few cans of black beans instead of starting with dried beans if you prefer. If you do that, I’d suggest cutting back a bit on the stock. And if you want this soup to be brothy/chunky then don’t blend it. Or just blend half of it to give it a creamier texture and still have some chunks. I chose to blend the entire batch with my immersion blender (and kept out some of the black beans for garnish). Again, you decide how you like your soup.
Don’t Forget the Garnishes – They’re Important!
To finish this soup, have a variety of toppings and let your family and friends decide what they want to add. Seriously, not only are the garnishes important for taste, let’s admit it, this soup is rather ugly otherwise! Don’t let that stop you though, a big pot of yummy Black Bean Soup would be great for get togethers (Super Bowl Party anyone?) or anytime you want a delicious bowl of soup on a chilly day!
- 1 pkg. dried black beans (about 3 cups)
- 4-6 C. stock or water (I used chicken stock, to keep it vegetarian, use vegetable stock)
- 2 Tbls. olive oil
- 1 lg. onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 lg. carrot, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced (opt. if you don't want that much spice)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- salt & pepper
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- ½ C. orange juice
- 1 Tbls. dry sherry
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 - 2 tsp. liquid smoke (opt.)
- chopped cilantro
- crumbled mexican cheese
- lime slices
- sour cream
- sliced green onions
- Soak beans according to package directions. Drain and rinse. Add to large soup pot.
- Add stock to beans in pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered about 1½ hours to cook the beans.
- In large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, bell pepper, garlic (be sure to not let garlic burn) some salt and pepper (hefty pinch) and cook veggies until they soften.
- Add cumin, coriander, cayenne, chipotle powder and cook another minute.
- Add veggies to pot with beans. Continue to simmer until veggies and beans are soft and flavors have combined (I simmered mine about another hour)
- Prior to serving, add orange juice, sherry, lime juice and if, desired, liquid smoke. Stir to combine.
- Blend soup with immersion blender (or in batches in regular blender) to desired texture. If you want a chunky soup, just blend some of it, not all.
- Top individual servings with desired toppings.