1.15.2011

Smoky Black Bean Soup (with bacon of course)

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I've had this recipe in my big binder of recipes for a long time. It must be at least two years, because at some point I realized I should stop killing trees and just go online. But before I was just an environmentalist, I printed and organized a huge three-ring binder of recipes I'd like to try. This soup made it in, but I wasn't sure why. I decided to make it and figure it out.

The soup was easy to make, that could have been the reason. I also love bean soups, maybe I selected it due to that? Strangely, I think this recipe reminded me of a memory, which I cannot with certainty say is real. But, when my brother-in-law lived in Chicago, many moons ago, we paid him a visit. And for some reason, I recall eating a delicious black bean soup at a tea house. Sounds strange, right? That trip was well documented and I even checked with the husband, and no evidence exists that this actually happened. Oh well. This fake memory lives in my heart, and hurts no one.

Now back to the soup. It was delicious, with some spice alterations to the original recipe. I also ended up pureeing it, because I couldn't deal with the chunky tomatoes and wanted a thick, smooth soup.
Black Bean Soup
(somewhere from the Food Network)

10 slices of bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (I used one large onion)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1, 14 oz can of chicken broth
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp of ketchup (I used a BBQ sauce instead)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
I also added a few teaspoons of cumin and paprika
salt and pepper
4 cans of black beans, drained, not rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime

optional garnishes: sour cream, scallions, cheddar

1) Cook bacon in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Five or so minutes in, add onions and cook until they turn translucent. Then add garlic, and cook for another minute or so.
2) Add broth, tomatoes, sauces and spices. Stir in the beans and bring to a boil.
3) Adjust heat so that the soup is boiling gently and cook for 10 minutes (I cooked it for 20 or so). Season with salt and pepper.
4) When soup done cooking (at this point, I pureed), add in the cilantro and lime juice. Reserve some cilantro for garnish.

I garnished ours simply with sour cream and more cilantro, and ate it remembering Chicago. 

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