How are we feeling on this post-Super Bowl Monday? I am moving slow. Today, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes that doesn’t get enough love on the blog. When I took the original photos, I was scrambling to go home for Christmas and made do with terrible lighting. The photos have been bugging me ever since.
Fortunately, the photos haven’t scared all of you off from making it. If you check out the comments, you’ll see that this soup has quite a few fans. It comes together pretty quickly thanks to canned beans, but the soup tastes remarkably fresh and delicious with the addition of carrots, celery and garlic. Cumin and a little bit of sherry vinegar (or lime juice) add a Cuban flair that takes it over the top.
I learned a lesson when I made this recipe for the first time over two years ago, which is that a soup doesn’t need a long list of spices for a complex final flavor. Aromatics make all the difference. This soup is a million times better than the store-bought variety. It’s the best!
I should mention that this recipe makes quite a lot of soup; leftovers will keep well for four to five days, so it’s perfect for weekday lunches. You can also freeze it. I always freeze my soup in pint-sized mason jars, leaving room for expansion at the top and waiting to screw on the lids until the soup has fully frozen. Then I just defrost it later.
Rumor has it that this black bean soup turns out well in a slow cooker (Erin said she “basically just put it all in the crock at the same time and slow cooked it for about 6 hours”). If you give that a try, will you please let me know how it turns out?
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped fine
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 4½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (use ¼ teaspoon if you're sensitive to spice)
- 4 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, to taste, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Optional garnishes: diced avocado, extra cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips...
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, celery and carrot and a light sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beans and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the broth is flavorful and the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth (beware the steam that escapes from the top of the blender, it's very hot). Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir in the cilantro, vinegar/lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.