Monday, January 11, 2010

Black bean soup two ways

I love to cook and often become happily obsessed with trying new recipes. That said, I can also be rather lazy. When the slug in me wins out (but my appetite remains voracious), my saving grace is the much maligned leftover. I LOVE leftovers!! I cook, for example, a big batch of spicy black bean soup and freeze a portion of it for future hectic Wednesdays or boozy football Sundays. I eat said soup, eat it again (and probably again-I have a high tolerance for repetition and, luckily, so does my boyfriend). Then, when I finally tire of eating the same old delicious soup, I use it to make a brand-spanking-new dish. Enter baked potato skins with black beans and three cheeses. Then I retire to the couch.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Serves a small army

olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 7.5 oz. can chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped (this will be messy:)
4 15 oz. cans black beans, drained, and divided in half
2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes
hot water
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs cilantro, plus more for garnish
salt to taste

optional garnish: chopped cilantro, cheese (I like cojito or feta), sour cream, avocado, toasted pepitas, etc.
  • In a large stock pot over moderate heat, use enough oil to coat bottom and cook onions and peppers until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Salt onion mixture to taste.
  • Add chipotles and adobo sauce, and then half the black beans. Stir to coat beans with oil and adobo. Again, add salt to taste.
  • Add tomatoes and enough hot water to cover beans by about two inches (your pinkie is a good measuring stick). Turn heat to high and bring to a slow boil, stirring often.
  • Once soup has boiled, turn heat down to medium low, add bay leaves and cilantro and cook for about an hour. Again, salt to taste.
  • Remove bay leaves and cilantro and puree soup until it's almost smooth. I highly recommend that you get an immersion blender, if you don't have one, because they are super handy. If not, puree the soup in batches in your standing blender. Make sure not to fill your blender more than half way unless you want to wear your soup!
  • Add remaining black beans and cook until they're warmed through, 15-20 minutes. Add salt, one last time, if necessary.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!
A quick note: Because you salt the soup a number of times while you are making it, don't be heavy handed; a small pinch will do. Most importantly, make sure to taste throughout the process. And, trust those taste buds of yours!

Freeze soup, cooled completely, for up to six months. Defrost under running hot water.

Turn your soup into...
Baked Potato Skins with Black Beans and Three Cheeses
Serves 2-4

1 1/2 cup black bean soup
4 baked potato skin halves leftover from making hash browns
1/4 cup each, shredded and combined: cheddar and jack cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese
cilantro, chopped
  • In a small sauce pan over moderate heat, cook down the black bean soup until it has thickened and you have about one cup
  • Preheat broiler
  • Place potato skins in an oven safe baking dish. Fill each potato with one quarter of the black beans. Cover beans evenly with the cheddar and jack cheeses. Broil until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
  • Top baked potato skins with feta cheese and cilantro, serve hot and enjoy!

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