Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Oh, the mess one can make in a kitchen. Before I go any further, let me drop in the recipe (and then I’ll explain):

2 cups dry black beans, sorted
4 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 ounces diced green chilies
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Place beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil and cook until tender, about one hour. Add water as necessary, keeping fluid level as close to 4 cups as possible. Reduce to simmer.

Saute onion, garlic and celery in oil until onions are tender.

Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly in saute pan. Add to beans.

Simmer for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

Source: Triangle Guide Online

The first time I made this I had black bean juice everywhere. Stove, counter, floor, walls, me. Why?  Because I don’t have Dutch oven (didn’t know what one was until I googled it).  I had to substitute a pot of the proper size, but one with a lid that vents steam… steam being black bean juice.  I also made the mistake of cooking the beans at too high a temperature. Medium was more than enough, but in my defense the recipe does not specify a temperature (and I guessed wrong). Oh, well.

With that said, let me back up and run through the process from the beginning.

If you don’t follow anything else in the recipe, at least sort the beans.  What is sorting?  It means spreading them out on a flat surface and scanning them for oddities and the potentially a pebble.  When you get down to it, there’s not a lot of difference from the look of a black bean and the look of a small black pebble. However, you would notice the difference if you bit down on one. Oddities are beans that are not whole or that have some other deformity that makes you think “I ain’t eating that”.

The substitutions I make are extra-virgin olive oil for vegetable oil and the omission of dry sherry.  I switch the oils because I always switch the oils.  The sherry I omit for the shear obstinacy of having to buy it (one day… maybe).

The first time I cooked the beans it took 90 minutes. The second and third times, at medium heat, was 70 minutes (but your mileage may vary). I’m not sure how much liquid you should have left, but I try to cook off a fair amount (obviously, the beans should not be swimming in water).

As for the other ingredients, those are a piece of cake.

The recipe states that you should add the other ingredients into the beans, but I’ve been thinking I might reversing it. I suggest this because when you dump the mixture into the beans a lot of the mixture remains stuck to the inside of the pot (and that “stuck” stuff is good stuff). I’m wondering if I’m leaving too much behind and therefore would it be better to go beans into mixture. It’s worth trying… as soon I get another large pot.

As for garnishes, cilantro is a given and I’d also suggest some feta cheese crumbles (although I always seem to be out of feta when I make this).

p.s. Did you notice how I coordinated the chili and nacho chip colors?

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~ by Genevieve on 2010.01.08.

One Response to “Vegetarian Black Bean Soup”

  1. […] the choice of beans, you could cook your own, but I use canned (for simplicity). I’ve been purchasing the HT store brand, but the last […]

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