It’s Soup Season (Spicy Black Bean Soup)

I’m pretty sure my mom only observes three seasons: spring, summer, and soup. From about September until March, she goes into soup mode, combatting the chilly to freezing weather in West Virginia with every type of soup under the sun. From broccoli cheddar and chicken noodle to turkey meatball and vegetable lentil, my mom makes it all.

Because I spent the last four years living in Orlando, soup wasn’t exactly at the top of my list in terms of what I wanted to make. Even when the AC was cranked up in the apartment, the constant stifling humidity outside made eating soup just feel wrong. So now that I’m living in Boston with the cooler weather, I’m adopting my mother’s belief in soup season. I had several people tell me over the past couple months that soup is not real food. I wholeheartedly disagree. There is nothing better on a chilly night than a big bowl of piping hot soup. You’ll probably see many more soup recipes surfacing on this blog in the coming weeks.

Spicy Black Bean Soup (adapted from http://gimmesomeoven.com/spicy-black-bean-soup)

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped plus 1 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped fresh or dried)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips

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In a large pot, heat olive oil and cook onion, red pepper, and garlic for about 5 minutes.

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Add in chipotle, black beans, and diced tomatoes.

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Stir in chicken broth, bay leaf, and spices. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.

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Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add sour cream and cheese as a garnish and serve hot soup with tortilla chips.

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(everything but the kitchen sink) Vegetable Soup

It’s starting to get cold in Boston, so today was the day to break out the slow cooker.  I found a vegetable soup recipe but I decided to use all the dib dabs in my cabinet.

The great thing about slow cookers is that they’re easy.  The great thing about vegetable soup is that you can put almost anything in it. Put them together and you have lazy winter weekend cooking.

Necessary Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 box vegetable broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1 box quinoa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt/pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Black beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • potatoes

Preparation:

  1. Start by dicing all your vegetables. 1/4 inch is a good estimate.
  2. Mince or press garlic. Add to medium size skillet with diced onion and olive oil. Cook over medium low heat until fragrant (2 min ish).

  1. Add carrots and celery. Stir and cook all for about 10 minutes, or until onions have begun to soften and become translucent.
  2. Pull out your trusty slow cooker.  If you don’t have one, you can also use a large pot and simmer on the stove. I like equipment.
  3. Add vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, and herbs to pot.  If using dried beans, add them now. I presoaked my beans in hot water for about an hour, but figured that simmering them in the slow cooker would take care of the rest.
  4. Add carrot/celery/onion mixture to pot.  Turn on and leave for two hours, or until beans and carrots are both soft.
  5. Add potatoes if using.
  6. Cook your quinoa according to the directions on the box.  Add the rinsed quinoa to boiling water, turn stove to simmer and leave for 10 minutes.
  7. Once potatoes are nearly soft, add your fast cooking vegetables, like green beans and peppers.
  8. Add quinoa, leave soup to simmer until all vegetable are tender.

I like to add some kale or spinach to my soup just before serving – it makes the greens soften without overcooking them, and helps cool down hot soup!