Friday, March 6, 2009

EASY Black Bean Soup (and delicious too)

There's something earthy and comforting with a bowl of hot soup on a cold night. Black beans in particular have a nice, meaty texture different than any other bean that I use to make bean soup.

And it's very versatile too. It goes well alone, or with a meal like a mexican dish. My picky eaters usually whine when I make bean soup with the great northern beans and bacon or ham hock. But they ate the black bean soup, which surprised me!

I actually followed a particular recipe a few months ago that I am unable to find now. When I made this the other night, however, I had found another recipe that I was able to follow and tweak just slightly to get the desired result. It was good! Many recipes call for sour cream but that is optional. I don't believe we used sour cream, but I can see how it would go well with this soup.

This can also be adapted to low sodium diets. I use dry beans, soaking them overnight, for bean soup whenever possible because they have no sodium whatsoever in them unlike many canned beans. I have been able to find an organic canned brand that has very little sodium in each can (like 4% vs the 20+% of most cans) But if you have time, use the dry beans to cut out even more sodium and make this even healthier.

And of course, if you don't do low sodium, just substitute the low-sodium ingredients with the regular ingredients.

I also use a food processor to blend my beans beforehand, but you can use a blender after everything is cooked (be careful and keep lid partially off to allow steam to escape) or opt not to blend the beans at all.

Black Bean Soup

32-oz no salt added black beans (if dry, follow package directions to prepare them)
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
20 oz low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon cilantro

In saucepan, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender.

Add in the beans, broth, cumin and lime juice and bring to boil.

Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.

Simmer 20 minutes (if using dry beans, cooking time will be longer.)

Stir in cilantro, and top with sour cream when serving.