Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chowable Cumin Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Welcome to the inaugural posting!  It’s a great day to start a blog.  It’s the beginning of a new week, sort of, as Tom and I just returned from a weekend in the hill country.  We frolicked at Enchanted Rock (well, I heaved all the way up that darned stone) and sipped many delightful wines.  I assure you that Texas has some undiscovered gems on the 290 wine trail!  I recommend you try them all, as my tastes and yours are not necessarily the same.  We did buy two of our favorites, and I will write them up later.  I am also scheming up a follow-up trip since we opted out of camping the first night due to the sub-freezing temperatures.  As I have yet to go camping, I am bent on doing so, and having seen Enchanted Rock, it seems like an ideal place to start.  You can’t really get lost there.  It’s a small park with a HUGE rock.
I can see that I am going to constantly get side-tracked while writing this thing.
As I was saying, I had meant to start blogging today.  I ordered a camera last week that I’d hoped would get here in time for the trip so that I could document our wine travels, though that was not to be.  It did arrive today, and with much gusto I tore through the packaging and set it up.  However, the pictures are chronically out of focus and flat.  I think it might just be this camera, as it has great reviews across the nets.
That said, I will give you the one decent photo of this soup I have and a recipe to die for.  I adapted it from here , and they got it from Bon Appetit.  In the future, there will be Tom ratings for each recipe.  He warns that he is a very severe and demanding food critic and demands that he be allowed to edit his Tom ratings as he goes along.  I will say this about the soup featured today: he had multiple helpings.  It is also rather inexpensive, clocking in at .68 a serving, healthy with no saturated fats and lots of good veggies, nonfat dairy and great fiber content.
The recipe I used called for only 2 chipotles and none of the sauce, warning that this is a “spicy soup.”  Puh-lease!  I doubled the chipotles and tossed in the sauce from the can and still couldn’t feel the heat.  Bring it on, chiles!  Let’s feel the burn!  Next time, I’ll double it again.  I’m that kind of girl.
Limen't you happy to see me?
Quite the schnoz, no?
Chipotle Cumin Black Bean Soup (serves 8-10)
Stuff you put in:

4 c dried black beans or 8 cups canned or cooked.  If canned or cooked, keep undrained.  We want those juices!
1 T veggie oil
2 red onions, chopped*
1 red bell pepper, chopped*
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped*
1 green bell pepper, chopped*
6 garlic cloves, pressed
4 tsp ground cumin
4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped*
Liquid from 7.5 oz can chipotle chiles
2 or 3 limes cut into 6 wedges each
1/2 C Greek Yogurt (optional)
Cilantro (optional)

What you do:
If you use dried beans, soak them in a pot until they are tender.  The amount of time necessary will depend on the age of your beans.  This round took only 3 hours.  I find the “overnight” method too long and slightly risky with regards to possible fermentation, if only because I am a forgetful person who sleeps a lot every night.  Once they are tender, drain the soaking water (don’t   you love that purple hue?) and add fresh water until the beans are covered by 3 inches.  Boil for 1-1.5 hours.
During the last 20 minutes of bean cooking time, chop your veggies if you haven’t already and sauté them in a skillet with the vegetable oil on medium heat (remember, heat up the skillet, add oil, wait until the oil is hot and THEN add the veggies) until they are slightly browned (5 minutes was my experience), stirring occasionally.  Press garlic right into veggies and add chopped chiles.  Cook for a minute longer and add to the beans.  Feel free to do this in two batches, tossing the first batch into the pot o’ beans when they’re ready.  Remove the last two or three chipotles from the can and store them for another day.  Add enough water to swirl around in the can to get all that good chipotle juice and toss the liquid into the bean pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes.
I like to serve in bowls garnished with 2 lime sections, a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro. The tartness of the yogurt and lime provides great contrast, and the yogurt gives an excellent creaminess.  And in this case, the food looks happy to see you, just like Mulan’s breakfast when she was at the manly training camp being all… manly.
*I am a chop-while-cookinger.  While the beans are cooking, you have AMPLE time to chop to your heart’s content.  You could really go to town on those veggies and slice them to kingdom come and still have time to savor a glass of wine.  But if you like to do your food prep on the weekends, by all means, have at it, and these veggies should be chopped.

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