This is my favorite Black Bean Soup Recipe I have found. I'm not sure why we love it so much, but we do.
Maybe it's because when it's cooking on the stove, it makes the house smell like a Mexican fiesta, and my girls yell down from the top of the stairs (which is the spot where smells from the kitchen are most pronounced, oddly enough) and ask, "What are you cooking, Mom? It smells sooo good! Are we having tacos for dinner?"
Or maybe because it is a meatless meal, which I prefer, and yet one that Dave, who prefers a meaty meal, calls "hearty and delicious".
Or maybe because my son, who is the only non bean-fan in our house tasted it yesterday and said, "you are right, it's good. I like the flavor, I just don't like the texture of beans". This was a big step in the right direction. I declared, with elation..."Oh, you are on the verge!" We are standing on the precipice of bean-dom with this guy, y'all!
(Another hopeful moment regarding this advancement was last night, when we had Greek for dinner and he was devouring the Hummus and commenting on how much he loves it, I reminded him, "you do know that hummus is made of garbanzo BEANS, right?")
Black beans are a favorite food of mine, but when it comes to soup, it's never been my favorite soup. I like it, but if I am at a restaurant, it's not the soup I typically order. I think because it is sometimes so pureed, and I like hunks of something in my soup, and sometimes is thick and gloppy. Also, I usually want rice or cornbread with a bowl full of beans!
This Bean Soup recipe is from Bon Appétit magazine from 2004, that my friend Gretchen passed along to me a couple of years ago. It is a really nicely balanced soup, as some of the soup is pureed for thickness, but some beans are still intact. (I have added an additional carrot, and more beans – and therefore a little more chicken broth – to the original recipe.)
I love sour cream dolloped on all things black bean, and my girls definitely want it on this soup. But the recipe calls for garnish of green onion, cilantro and feta cheese. Brilliant idea, Bon Appétit. The feta is so delicious. I think it really takes the soup to the next level. I highly recommend you try it topped with feta.
Black Bean Soup with Jalapeño
adapted from Bon Appétit magazine
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 to 2 tsp. chopped jalapeno chile with seeds, divided
3 15-16 oz. cans black beans, undrained
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice (or you can use 2 cans if you like more tomatoes)
2 cups chicken broth
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped green onions
Crumbled feta cheese
Chop onions, carrots and garlic.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 tsp. jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat tot medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
Transfer 3 cups of soup to a container/blender and blend until pureed smooth.
(I love using my immersion blender, and if you have ever tried to puree hot soup in your traditional blender and it exploded and made a mess, you'll understand why this speedy, tidy and simple blender solution is such a winner!)
Return puree to the pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and remaining 1 tsp. jalapeño, if desired.
Ladle soup into bowls. Top with cilantro, green onions and feta cheese (or sour cream if you'd rather).
Dave told me the other day, when we were making Tomato Basil Soup, that he has been craving soup and that his love for soup seems to be ever-increasing. This was music to my ears! He likes soup and has been supportive of my cold-months soup crusade for years, but now, he's begun to crave this mainstay.
P.S. If you were looking for a kitchen gadget to add to your Christmas wish list, the immersion blender is a lovely tool to have in your kitchen and much-appreciated in a recipe like this!