Earlier this week, I put Black Bean Soup on my weekly meal plan, but I couldn’t decide what version to make.
The Meanest Black Beanest Soup
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 jalapenos, chopped (seeds removed if you prefer less spice)
- 1 lb ham, diced (optional, skip to keep it vegetarian)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- sour cream, cheese, cilantro, salsa, etc.
Rinse and soak beans overnight: put the beans in the crockpot (unplugged) and cover them in cold water (bring the water level a couple of inches above the beans).
The next morning, rinse and drain the beans, then return them to the slow cooker. Add the chicken stock (or broth) and turn crockpot to High. Let the beans simmer on high for an hour or so to give them more opportunity to soften up.
In a skillet, sautee the onions, celery, garlic, and jalapenos for a few minutes.
Then add them to the crockpot, along with the other ingredients. Simmer on low all day, 6+ hours.
I prefer a thicker, smoother soup, so at the end of the day, I used my blender to puree the soup. I’m sure it would have been much easier if I had an immersion blender, but alas, I had to do it the old fashioned way.
I ladled two scoops into my blender, hit blend and held on tight! Something about hot food makes that lid want to fly off, so if you do it this way, keep you hand firmly on top of the lid and do NOT fill your blender more than half way (trust me, I learned this the hard way). Then I poured my blended soup back in with the rest and scooped some more chunky parts. With this method, I was able to get most but not all of the chunks out and that was good enough for me.
Vegetarian Note: I incorporated ham because I had some in the freezer I wanted to use up, but you could easily skip it to make this a vegetarian dish.
I think the key to a good black bean soup is to have lots toppings.
Having an array of options made the meal appealing to all the different food palates gathered around my table. Mr. Meanest was able to add our favorite salsa to get his spicy kick, while the kids chose from the cheese and cilantro options. I liked adding a dollop of sour cream, with the cilantro and the most delicious Toscano Black Pepper Cheese — I recently discovered it at Trader Joes, and it is so good!
What’s your favorite soup recipe?
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