Black Bean Soup

How are we feeling this post inauguration day? Need a pick me up? I sure did. This recipe will help. Spicy, creamy, black bean soup with Mexican(ish) toppings.

Ingredients:
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 bayleaves
5 garlic pods, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
6 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 large (or 2 medium) green pepper, seeds removed and diced into 1″ pieces
2 large cans black beans (if you are using raw black beans, soak overnight and cook 30-40 minutes in boiling salted water until tender)
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

For the topping:
2 tbsp pickled jalapeños + 1/3 cup soaking pickling liquid
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped (you could use a quarter onion as an alternative)
2-3 avocados, peeled, sliced lengthwise

Servings: 6 to 8

Method:
In a large soup pot/dutch oven heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic, bay leaf and cumin powder. Saute for about 15 seconds until the cumin is toasted. Add chopped onion and cook until it starts turning golden brown stirring once in a while, takes about 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes over low heat. The tomatoes should be tender, mash them gently with the back of the ladle to make the mixture more cohesive.

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Add green peppers, remaining salt, and a cup of stock; cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

In the meanwhile, drain both cans of black beans and wash throughly. Use your hands to mash the beans; crush them like your making dough, mashing the beans between your fingers. Leave a few beans whole, the consistency we’re looking for is not a smooth paste, but roughly mashed.

Add the mashed beans to the simmering veggie mixture, and add the remaining 5 cups of veggie stock. Stir well, and let simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Keep stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

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While the soup simmers, lets get the toppings ready. Finely chop shallots, pickled jalapeños and cilantro. Add this to a bowl and reserved pickling liquid. The vinegar and salt in the liquid will pickle the onions perfectly to remove that pungency from the raw onion. Let this mixture soak until the soup finishes cooking.

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After about 30 mins, the soup will thicken slightly. Now is the time to taste for seasoning. Adjust for salt or spice t if necessary. Top with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

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My favorite combination is a dollop of pickled onion relish and sliced avocados. You could also crumble some tortilla chips for crunch, or serve with grill soft tortillas or white rice.

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