Best Black Bean Soup

It’s worth having the weather get cooler and the days get shorter to feel like making soup again (almost)!  I have lots of favorite recipes that I’ve fiddled with over the years, and I’m going to start posting one of my favorites every Friday, starting today!  Unless the weather gets nice again . . .

Okay, so it’s not the best picture, but it is the best black bean soup! (By the way, I added a can of white beans with it for a little variety.

My first favorite is this recipe for Black Bean Soup.  It’s fast, it’s very nutritious, it’s inexpensive to make and everybody seems to love it.  It has this velvety texture that I just love, especially with a little dollop of sour cream stirred in!  It originally came from a Rachael Ray cookbook, but I’ve adapted it to my family’s tastes, so now it’s mine:  ta-da!

Best Black Bean Soup
Recipe type: Best Soups
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 to 10
 
This is a comforting soup to have bubbling on the stovetop in the late afternoon, but you can put it in the crock-pot earlier in the day, too.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup your favorite vegetable oil
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (more or less!)
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 6 celery ribs with greens, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6 15-oz cans black beans (or do what I did: cook some dried black beans per package instructions, and then use half canned and half dried)
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons your favorite hot sauce (or per your heat tolerance!)
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock or broth (homemade is best)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 quart canned, chopped tomatoes (home-canned is best)
  • sour cream (optional but so, so yummy)
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pot, then add the bay leaf, jalapenos, garlic, celery, and onions. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes (be careful! The jalapenos cooking will clear your kitchen, fast!), then add chopped bells and cook a few minutes more. Drain 4 cans of beans (or add dried and cooked beans) and add them. Pour the juice out of the remaining cans of beans, adding it to the pot. Smash the beans with a fork and stir them into the pot and season with cumin, salt, pepper, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot sauce. Add the stock and tomatoes to the soup and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so over low heat, or longer if dried beans are involved. Like most soups, this will be even tastier on the second day!

I served this soup to my family a few nights ago, and I sliced up some artisan bread to go with it (with butter, of course), and a big bowl of honeydew melon chunks and strawberries.  It’s spicy, so the bread and the fruit keep the heat from being overwhelming!  By the way, if you have tender mouths or little ones in the family, I’d cut the hot sauce and the jalapenos amounts in half.  And spoon in a little more sour cream.  In our family, we have a range of heat tolerance from Timothy’s (he brings out an arsenal of hot sauces from the fridge, in dangerous little bottles, for nearly every meal) and little Mack’s, who even complains about pepper as being “too spicy!” so I aim for a middle-range of heat.

By the way, I heartily recommend homemade chicken broth for this recipe, and any others including chicken broth.  It’s just not that hard to make, and it’s so much better than anything you can buy in the store.  The BEST chicken broth, of course, is made from my mom’s recipe, and you can find it on my site, under “Mom’s Chicken and Noodles.”

 

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