Years of trying have not helped my endeavors to make the perfect pot of black bean soup. But, the other day I was determined to give it another shot. After all, these beans are incredibly healthy for you. A one-cup serving of cooked black beans provides (in daily recommended values): 227 calories. 15 grams protein. 15 grams fiber. Stats that even my omnivore of a husband cannot ignore.
So, I thought about it all day and then got busy. I wanted to roast the peppers and corn. Super easy to do, and adds another layer of flavor.
I also thought about adding red bell peppers, tomato paste, and coriander powder. The last three ingredients didn't really do much for me. The tomato paste and bell pepper sweetened the soup - which I did not care for as much. The coriander powder, rather than lending the citrus profile I thought it would made my Mexican black bean soup taste a little Indian - not exactly the effect I was looking for. Feel free to try all of the above if you care to.
The recipe below is what I ended up with - and my family definitely approves. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!
Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Roasted Jalapeno
2 cups dried black beans, picked over, soaked overnight
12 cups water
2 jalapeno peppers, roasted
2 ears of corn, roasted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon hot sauce or cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
avocado for garnish
1. Add drained beans and water to a 5.5 quart Dutch oven. Bring water to a boil, turn heat down and simmer partially covered for 1 ½ hours. Turn heat off, cover completely, and let the beans sit while you prep your remaining ingredients. I know your wondering if it's worth cooking dried beans rather than reaching for canned. It's worth the taste, texture, and the money you'll save!
2. Roast the jalapeno and corn. I have a gas range, so I do this right on my burners. You can also roast in the oven at 450 degrees F for about 25 minutes, turning in between. Chop up your peppers. Take the kernels off the cobs and set both aside on separate plates.
3. In a separate, smaller pan, heat your oil over medium-high heat. Add cumin and cook about a minute until the seeds sizzle and turn reddish brown.
4. Add garlic and onion. Cook about a minute until the onions turn slightly opaque. Mix.
5. Add celery and carrot. Cook about 4 minutes until your vegetables soften.
6. Add this mixture to your beans along with the jalapeno peppers, salt, and hot sauce. Cook another 5 minutes. Any Mexican-style hot sauce will do. I use the habanero sauce from Trader Joe's. This step does add a ton of flavor. If you don't have something on hand, replace with 1 teaspoon of red chile powder or cayenne pepper.
7. Turn heat off and blend your soup down until smooth. I use an immersion blender. You can also transfer the mixture to a blender and process.
8. Once smooth, bring mixture to a simmer. Add lime juice and heat through. You may need another 1/2 cup of water at this point to thin out your soup a bit.
9. Add cilantro and corn kernels. Dole out in bowls and garnish with diced avocado and crushed tortilla chips.
If you live in Chicago or in the area, I would love to meet you! Come check out my Indian snack event Saturday, June 3 in the beautiful Bloomingdale's Home Store space and June 10 at Printer's Row. Click here for details.