Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Bean Soup

This is one of our trusty stand-by recipes. It ranks among my favorites because it is:

1. inexpensive,
2. easy,
3. healthy, and
4. delicious.

I got the original recipe from Stephanie O'Dea (a.k.a. The Crock-Pot Lady). A bonus about her slow-cooker blog is that almost all the recipes are gluten free. Which I'm not. But I know lots of people who are, so I can still appreciate it!

I'm not sure which labels/tags to attach to this recipe, because you really could probably use almost any veggie combination you wanted in it. I've tried lots of different veggies. This time around, I used a couple large carrots, some radishes, and some corn that I had in the freezer from our Pigman's summer CSA.

Black beans (three 15-oz. cans, drained and rinsed, or about 1 1/2 c. dry beans that you've soaked overnight and then drained)
Tomatoes (one 15-oz. can [I use diced with green chiles] or a couple fresh tomatoes, chopped)
Your choice of veggies, chopped if needed (a pound or so. I've used a bag of unthawed frozen organic veggies in the past, and that works great too.)
3 c. broth (or 3 t. Organic Better than Bouillon base and 3 c. water)
Hot sauce, to taste (enough to add flavor but not a lot of heat)
Garnishes (any or all of the following: shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, more hot sauce)
Tortilla chips

Put the beans, tomatoes, veggies, broth, and hot sauce in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally if you, like me, can't just let it cook undisturbed. Using an immersion blender, carefully purée the soup until it's smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can carefully transfer the soup--in batches--to a regular blender and carefully purée it that way. You may notice that I'm using the word carefully a lot. That's because this soup is, not surprisingly, hot. Stir more hot sauce into individual bowls as desired (I always add a lot), and garnish with some or all of what I listed. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping. You can also crumble chips over the top if you like.

Need I repeat that this soup is inexpensive, easy, healthy, and delicious?

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