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Monday, March 9, 2009

Black Bean Soup

Last week I made the most fabulous black bean soup out of Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It was a more traditional American preparation than the currently common southwestern variety--meaning, it had a dollop of sherry and cream rather than chili peppers. I loved it! Very simple and different, and extremely healthy. Beans are the magical fruit, after all.

Here's my mise en place (French for chopped and measured ingredients all in one place so I don't forget anything):
I started the vegetables (carrots, onion, and green bell pepper) and spices (chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves) off in the bottom of my favorite Le Creuset pot, softening them in butter. Then I smushed in some tomato paste for color and depth of flavor. Don't you just love tomato paste in a tube?I'd soaked the beans the night before, so they were all ready to add here, along with some water. The whole thing had to come to the boil and then simmer gently, partially covered, until the beans were soft, about two hours. Might have been less if I hadn't drained the beans too soon and allowed them to dry back out a little by accident.Once everything was good and mushy, I dumped two thirds of the soup into the food processor and gave it a whirl. Then I added it back to the pot, so there were some chunky vegetables and whole beans for texture in with the puree, and swirled in the dry sherry and the dairy. The recipe calls for cream or milk, and I used 2% as part of my ongoing quest to not always invariably eat the fattiest, naughtiest way possible. And honestly, in this case it's hard to imagine how heavy cream could make this soup any thicker or richer. It was divine with the lowfat milk, and the sherry gave it a sophisticated, boozy quality I really enjoyed. It was a fairly strong component of the flavor, actually, and Nick liked it less than I did. Some people might prefer to revise down the amount of sherry. But for me, it was superb! Garnish with a bit of minced Italian parsley for color, and there you go.
Perfect winter meal!


Looks delish! And different seasonings than what I usually put in mine.

OMG that just sounds divine and looks magically delicious!

I'm not a beans kind of girl, but that looks YUUUUUUMMMMMY!

It really tasted nothing like any black bean soup I'd ever had before. The sherry made it more reminiscent of lobster bisque or something. Nummy!

Looks de-lish. Nice and warm. My husband would love this.

That looks absolutely fabulous:) I'm always up for some frijoles negros, no matter how you cook em!

I love Deborah Madison! Do you have her Vegetarian Suppers book? It's amazing - lots of seriously crowd-pleasing recipes, even for my skeptical carnivorous friends.

Your soup looks delish!

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