Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

The other day I went through a few of my cookbooks and chose a bunch of recipes I wanted to try. One of the books that I ended up choosing a number from is my Moosewood Cookbook. Although I do eat a little bit of red meat now, I’m still a huge fan of vegetarian recipes and still eat pretty much the same way I did before I started eating red meat again.

I have never made black bean soup before and this one looked fairly simple. It was fun soaking the beans, which is something I remember seeing on my counters as a child. I was also extra careful this time when blending up part of the soup based on my splatter incident with this soup. It smells amazing, it looks amazing, it is amazing. Do all of the prep work, etc., while the beans are cooking.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup from The New Moosewood Cookbook:

Serves 6-8

2 c. dry black beans, soaked
4 c. water
1 Tb. olive oil
3 c. chopped onion
10 medium cloves garlic, crushed (do I even need to say it?)
2 tsp. cumin
2-2½ tsp. salt (I used 2. The soup has plenty of flavor.)
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1½ c. orange juice
Black pepper, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
2 medium tomatoes, diced (optional. I did.)
Optional toppings (sour cream, cilantro, salsa. I used yogurt, cilantro, and avocado.)

Soak 2 cups dry black beans in plenty of water (about 8 cups) for at least 4 hours (and preferably overnight).

Place the soaked beans in a kettle or Dutch oven with 4 cups of water. I don’t have either of those, so I used my big stock pot that I use for all of my soups. It was totally fine. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until tender (about 1¼ hours).

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion, half the garlic, cumin, salt, and carrot. Sauté over medium heat until the carrot is just tender. Add remaining garlic and the bell pepper. Saute until everything is very tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Add the sautéed mixture to the beans, scraping in every last morsel.

Stir in the orange juice, black pepper, cayenne, and optional tomatoes. Puree all or some of the soup in a blender or food processor. Be careful! It is hot and can explode everywhere! I know this. Return to kettle. Simmer over very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve topped with an artful arrangement of your choice of toppings.

I also served mine with a special corn bread which I will post about later. It was super tasty and filling. I cannot wait to have more!

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