Monday, 9 May 2011

About that soup...

Uh oh... I teased with a couple of images of a glorious soup in the last post, and then couldn't find the time to write again later in the week!  That is not very nice.

Ergo, as promised...

Black Bean Soup with Red pepper Relish


Red Pepper Relish
  • 1 large red bell pepper, roasted
  • 1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. finely chopped green onion
  • 2 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar (I used some other kind of vinegar, what was in the pantry)
  • 1 tsp. thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives

Black Bean Soup
  • 2 T. canola oil (I prefer olive oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and large diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and large diced
  • 2 stalks celery, large diced
  • 2 T. chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted (or ground cumin powder)
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or more, if you're like me!)
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper, stemmed
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 small smoked ham hock, thawed
  • Kosher salt & cracked black pepper
  • 4 T. sour cream

1. Making the relish: Peel the roasted pepper and cut it into a small slice.  Add the diced pepper to a bowl and combine with the cilantro, green onion, lime zest, vinegar, garlic, and chives.  Transfer a quarter of the mixture to a food processor and pulse; it should feel chunky, not entirely puréed.  Add the chunky part back into the relish and stir.

2. Sautéing the vegetables for the soup: Add the oil to a medium stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the cumin seeds and red pepper flakes and cook until they are fragrant.

3. Spicing it up: Add the entire chipotle pepper to the pot.  Stir in the tomato paste.  When it coats everything, add 3 cups of the chicken stock.

4. Cooking the soup: Drain the beans from the water they have been soaking in.  Add them to the soup along with the ham hock.  Cook over medium heat until the beans are completely tender and the ham hock has started to peel away from the bone, 25 to 30 minutes.

5.  Finishing the soup: Remove the ham hock from the soup.  Peel all the meat away, from the bone and chop it up into bite-sized pieces.
Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender in small batches and purée; the final consistency should be just a touch thinner than a smoothie.  If the soup feels too thick, thin it out with the remaining chicken stock.
Pour the soup into the stockpot.  Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.  Dollop with the sour cream and the red pepper relish.

My Add-ins/Suggestions:

Begin with soaking the beans overnight.  Make sure you pour enough water over them, and place a tight cover on the top so that they'll be sealed in overnight!

With the bell peppers, I put them in the oven to roast; turning them every-so-often so that they were blackened all over, but not burned.  When they were done, I took them out, placed them in a paper bag and folded it shut, and let them sit in the microwave (not on) to steam while I took care of other parts of the recipe.

Regarding the ham, if you don't have any spare ham hocks in the freezer, you can take deli ham slices and dice them up in quarters.

"This is not a particularly spicy soup.  
...I want the food to taste like itself, not just heat.  It should have a little kick, but not too much.  I don't want a soup to punch me in the mouth!"
Shauna "Gluten Free Girl" Ahern

Apparently, I must have missed the above, since my brain underwent a momentary lapse and I ended up pouring in an ENTIRE CAN of tear-inducing chipotle peppers (sorry, family!).  The result was perfectly spicy soup for me (think Goldy Lock's response when she finds the Little Bear's porridge), while everyone else thanked me through stinging eyes and dripping noses; saying it was "really delicious, *cough sniffle cough*, despite".

I also added some cayenne pepper and chili powder, and put out both sour cream and plain yogurt as toppings.

A perfect side dish would be quesadillas (or buttered tortillas), for dipping into your bowl.  Oh, and don't forget the enselada verde!

As always, with soups, they are even better the next day (that is, if you have any left over)!

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