David says one of the (many) reasons he fell in love with me was because I am the “Soup Nazi.”
You remember the Seinfeld episodes with the Soup Nazi, don’t you? Well, he doesn’t call me the Soup Nazi because I am overly strict and demanding of those who eat my food, but rather I make a mean soup, just like the Soup Nazi. And I have to agree. I love soups. They’re a one-pot wonder and so easy to make. On a cold day, they warm me up and satiate me so.
The soup I won David’s heart with, way back in 1993, was my black bean soup. And since the beginning of fall is upon us, and because he requested black bean soup, I am making it.
I got the recipe in the early 90’s from my friend, Rozanna Guerra, and the only revision I have made to the original recipe is that I use water, and occasionally some vegetable broth, instead of beef broth—which allows me to control the amount of sodium, as most store-bought broths are loaded with sodium and who needs that? Not me.
This black bean soup is healthy, wonderfully versatile (you can serve it as a soup or choose not to puree half and serve it as a side dish with rice, preferably brown rice), very inexpensive and yet tastes sublime.
Add a dollop of sour cream, some cubed avocado, chopped green onions and a little freshly chopped cilantro—serve with a salad and some yummy corn bread (perhaps with a little grated cheese and fresh corn?) and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal—one that is so good, no one will likely complain (or even notice) that there’s no meat for dinner/
Keep in mind, however, that soup is always better the day after you make it, so either make it a day ahead or let it meld overnight or just enjoy it again the next day.
Black Bean Soup
This vegetarian/vegan black bean soup is so easy and yet provides a depth of flavor from the onions, garlic, red peppers, jalapenos and serranos that makes it shine so bright. Keep in mind it's always better the next day, so make it ahead and give it time to meld.
- 1 lb. black beans organic, if possible
- 10 cups water enough water to cover by 2 inches
For the sauteed aromatics and vegetables:
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 2 red bell peppers seeded and chopped
- 1-2 jalapenos depending on how hot you like it (1 is mild and 2 jales has a nice bite) or
- 3 or more serranos seeded and minced (serranos have less heat, so 3 will be mild but still tasty)
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To cook the beans:
- 6 cups water* or 8 cups water if you choose to omit the broth
- 2 cups vegetable or beef broth preferably low sodium
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt but only if you have used water instead of broth
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Avocado cubed
- Cilantro chopped
- Green onions chopped
- Sour cream
To prepare the beans:
Carefully sort through the beans to remove any debris, such as rocks, pieces of beans, different colored beans, etc. This is what I found in my 1 lb. bag of black beans--about 20 different things that I don't want in my soup!
Rinse beans well and place in soup pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and allow to set for 2 hours.
Drain and rinse.
For the aromatics and vegetables:
In the same soup pot you used to soak the beans, add 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and saute onions, assorted peppers and garlic.
Sprinkle the salt over the veggies and saute for about 5 minutes, just until they wilt a bit.
For cooking the beans:
To the sauteed vegetables, add drained and rinsed black beans and liquid and simmer uncovered for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
If you used water, add 2 teaspoons salt, stir and taste, adding more salt later, if necessary. Add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes.
Finally, add juice of 1/2 lemon and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
At this point, you may puree half of the soup for the perfect soup texture—or leave the beans whole to serve it as a side dish with brown rice.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, chopped green onions and/or a dollop of sour cream.
It is important to keep the beans covered with water while they are cooking. This recipe is easily doubled.
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