Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Procrastination Recipe: Black Bean Soup

Sunday at Easter dinner my grandmother took a bite of the Carrot Cake Trifle and said, "Where did you find the recipe?" The recipe? I don't use recipes. She looked at me like I was speaking in tongues. but honestly, unless it's something super technical like a souffle or popovers, I don't usually use a recipe. This recipe was completely accidental. I was making refried beans last week, as you do when you can't figure out what to make for dinner, and added a little too much veggie stock and though, huh, this'd make a good soup

(I've made it with both black beans and red beans and both versions were delicious so it's up to you what you decide to use.)
2, 15oz. can black beans
32oz. carton veggie stock
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen spinach
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: garlic powder, chili powder, cumin
Optional: 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (See below)

In a large soup pan heat beans and stock over medium heat for about twenty minutes. This softenes the beans and melds the flavors. This is when I add in the garlic powder, chili powder and cumin (about 4 shakes of each, totally preferential). Once the beans have softened, I take a potato masher and mash the beans - not to a pulp, just to break them up a bit. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes and then add in the peppers, corn, and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.

At this point you can continue to let the soup simmer for five minutes or so. The frozen veg will defrost, the peppers will soften. You can certainly serve it like this but I wanted a slightly thicker soup so I made a slurry. What is a slurry? It's a thickener. For sauces you make a roux at the start of the process as a thickener and it has to cook. A slurry is added at the end of the cooking process and doesn't need to cook. Confused? Did you ever play with cornstarch in science class when learning about solids versus liquids? You take a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, add a little water and it looks like a liquid but then you touch it and it feels hard. If you didn't get to do that in school then try it now because it's fun.

Anywho, to make a slurry you take a tablespoon or two of cornstarch and add about a tablespoon or so of water, mix it together. Add this to your soup, make sure you stir well so it gets combined, and it acts as a thickener. Not to like a cheese sauce thickness, just slightly thicker than water. But as I said, this part is totally optional.

So there you have it. Black bean soup. I made a mini cheese quesadilla to go with it and trust me, twas a delicious dinner. 

Happy eating!


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