There was black bean over-load at my house this past weekend. In addition to the black bean soup pictured here, I also made mango-black bean salsa that we scooped up with blue corn chips. We love black beans in this house. There are other beans in my pantry, but most likely if I am using beans in a recipe, they will be black. And... what was I thinking when I made this black bean soup? I should have doubled the recipe and put a portion in my freezer to have on hand during the upcoming kitchen demolition.
I served this soup with a salad of greens, oranges, red onions and toasted almonds and a loaf of olive bread.
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
• 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• 4 16-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 cups canned chicken broth, plus additional to thin if necessary
• Sour cream and sliced green onions for garnish
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper and garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes with their juices, green chilies and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are very soft. Add the black beans and 2 cups of broth. Purée soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot.
2. Bring soup to a simmer. Thin with addition broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream and green onions.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say... I think this is the best soup I have ever made. Wow... I know, I can't believe I said that. How can this soup, and the recipe that I just down-loaded from Cooking.com replace all of my tried and true favorites? Well, I'll tell you... First of all, it's so easy.
The pears, squash, tomatoes and leek are chopped into big chunks and roasted with a little olive oil until tender when pierced. Cooled slightly, the fruits and vegetables are puréed with chicken broth, transferred to a saucepan and heated. In addition, it's an extremely healthy soup. I'm sure there are those of you who would opt to delete the blue cheese, but don't do it. The sweet creaminess of the soup and the salty, richness of the blue cheese are a perfect combination... and that's the best part. This soup is perfect with a salad and some really good bread on a chilly fall night.
ROASTED PEAR and BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
adapted from a recipe in EatingWell magazine
found on Cooking.com
• 2 large, or 3 small pears, peeled, cored and quartered
• 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch cubes
• 2 tomatoes, quartered
• 1 large leek, pale green and white parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced and washed thoroughly
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 4 cups organic chicken broth
• Approximately 2/3 cup of any blue-veined cheese (I use Maytag Blue), crumbled
• Thinly-sliced fresh chives
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2. Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leek, garlic, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly.
3. Place half of the roasted vegetables into a blender containe, add enough of the chicken broth to make a thick purée and process until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Repeat with the remaining vegetables. Stir any remaining chicken broth into the the vegetable purée in the saucepan. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4. Cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring until heated through, about 10 minutes. Divide soup among bowls and garnish with the blue cheese and chives.
I'm shifting gears. I'm moving away from the outdoor grill and from searching my vegetable garden for tonight's dinner. I'm ready for meals that can be made in one pot on top of my stove. I'm anxious to turn on the oven, not only to bake, but to take the chill out of the air. I've been eying this recipe for Potato and Apple Soup all summer; waiting to pounce on it once hot soup for dinner no longer sounded oppressive. And this was just the ticket! It's a soup that will ease you into fall - light and crisp. And a wonderful way to introduce locally-grown apples into your menus.
Potato and Apple Soup accompanied by Cheddar Dill Biscuits - get recipe
∞ Potato and Apple Soup ∞
Canadian House & Home | October 2008
• 2 teaspoons butter
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 onion, roughly chopped
• 1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (suggestions: Empire, McIntosh, Spartan)
• 1 pound (about 2 large) potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 3 cups organic chicken stock
• 1 cup sweet apple cider
• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• grated extra-sharp cheddar, to garnish
• sautéed diced apple, to garnish
1. Heat butter and oil together in a large pot on medium-hi heat until butter is melted. Add onion, apple and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until golden and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
2. Add potatoes, chicken stock and cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Purée soup in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cheddar and sautéed apples.
We ate hot soup for dinner. Normally, this time of year I wouldn't think of heating soup. But the weather has been cool at nights. Very cool. The reason for this coolness is that the air is so dry. I should be thrilled because I dislike extreme heat and even more than heat, I dislike humidity. But we've paid a high price for this glorious weather. Because the air is so dry, we no longer seem to get any rain in St. Paul, Minnesota. The month of May we only received 1/2-inch, and my vegetable garden is suffering--a lot. But, if there is an upside, I am able to make hot soup for dinner and bake all of the fresh fruit tarts my heart desires.
We're heading towards summer temps here in Minnesota. In fact, last week we shattered two records when we reached temperatures in the mid to upper 90's two days in a row. I lose my appetite and I lose any desire to cook when it gets that warm. And that's when I start thinking about food that will help cool me down. I made this Tomato and Goat Cheese Soup for the first time last week. I have been eating it chilled and, coupled with the tang of the goat cheese, this soup is very refreshing. I plan to make it often during the summer, for those hot days when I don't feel like spending too much time in my kitchen.
SWEET PEPPER and POTATO SOUP
With all of the economic uncertainty in our lives, cutting costs is on everyone's mind. Epicurious came out with a list of the Top 10 Money-Saving Ingredients and I will be posting recipes each week using one of the ten. First on Epicurious' list is potatoes. No big surprise there. The versatile potato is a healthy, nutrient-dense addition to any meal of the day. Today's potato soup is a keeper. With a salad and good bread, you'll have the perfect mid-winter meal.
I think everyone wants a change of diet in January after all of the caloric food and drink consumed during the holidays. My thoughts turn to citrus sorbets, tropical fruit salads, and healthy vegetables. But... It's January. It's Minnesota. It's cold. The thermometer won't even register above zero today and all I want is comfort food to warm my body. This Split Pea Soup with Smokey Ham meets my criteria. I suggest doubling the recipe. It will disappear quickly.
TAKE a LOOK:
The week of Thanksgiving I am always rushing around; running from grocery to grocery, coffee roaster to bakery. Today I will make the pastry for my pumpkin pies. Tomorrow I will pick up my turkey. I get so busy with the preparation of Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night dinners are an afterthought. This Cream of Carrot Soup goes together quickly and makes a nice meal when combined with a green salad and a glass of wine, which is exactly how I plan to spend tonight.
SPINACH and TORTELLINI SOUP