Happy Spring! It is almost May, which means green grass, flowers and…snow?
We did in fact have snow just last weekend here in southern Wisconsin—kind of a cruel trick from Mother Nature. As much as spring is warm and wonderful, it can also be unpredictable. So, it is probably a good idea to keep soup in mind for those cooler days. And, since we are leading up to Cinco de Mayo, what better choice than Black Bean Soup?
Like most soups, this one is easy to tinker with by adjusting the seasonings to suit your personal preference. The inspiration for this recipe comes from two different sources: one is Cookie and Kate and the other is the cookbook It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow. Both of these sources have a great soup with slightly different qualities. I decided to make a version that combined the best of both and—Voila!—a delicious soup was born!!
A key step to making Black Bean Soup is mixing it. Once everything is cooked, you need to blend the ingredients to get the creamy smooth texture we have come to expect from this soup. You can use a blender, but do be careful, as the soup will be very hot and you will have to blend it and then pour it back in the pan. I must confess, I’ve never tried this before because a. the prospect kind of freaks me out a little, and b. I have an immersion blender. I did try to use a simple potato masher once, but this did not work. In theory, it should be fine, but I think it might take approximately 1,000,000,000 mashes, and I’m not certain even that would be enough. Your first step in making Black Bean Soup should probably be planning ahead for this crucial blending function.
You’ll also want to think about your spice preferences. It is easy to use more or less of the spices as you prefer to get the perfect taste. In my opinion, you should NOT skip the lime juice at the end. In fact, I always add lime juice when the recipe calls for it and then I cut myself a fresh wedge of lime to squeeze over my own serving just before eating. I like to eat the soup with lime-flavored tortilla chips, which makes the whole experience a lime overload—YUM. (Okay, so I might like lime a little…)
Feel free to dress this up with the toppings of your choice; sour cream, chopped cilantro, chips, avocado, cheese…you get the idea.
First, start with your chopped vegetables plus salt; sauté these in oil for about 10 to 15 minutes until they are starting to soften. Next, add the garlic and all of the spices; mix and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the broth and black beans and heat the mixture until it comes to a boil.
Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
After simmering for 30 minutes, turn off the heat. With an immersion blender (or whatever you choose to use), blend the mixture in the pan until the desired consistency is reached. (Let’s be honest, it is not the most appealing sight.)
Once the soup is blended, add the lime juice, stir and serve.
As mentioned above, feel free to serve with lime wedges and other toppings as desired.
Black Bean Soup
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 TB fresh lime juice
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium to high heat. Add the chopped onion and salt, then the chopped celery and carrots; sauté these in oil for about 10 to 15 minutes until they are starting to soften.
- Next, add the garlic and all of the spices and cilantro; mix and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the broth and black beans and heat the mixture until it comes to a boil.
- Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
- After simmering for 30 minutes, turn off the heat. With an immersion blender (or whatever you choose to use), blend the mixture in the pan until the desired consistency is reached.
- Once the soup is blended, add the lime juice, stir and serve.