Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Meal Make-Over ... Black Bean Soup

One of my New Year;s resolutions is to try a new recipe each week. The recipe I choose I need to make sure is GLUTEN FREE so that I can eat it, but I also look to find ways to modify it to be vegetarian to allow the recipe to be accessible to the vegetarian segment of the population.

Last week I made Black Bean Soup. Sorry I did not post it sooner!

I re-hydrated three cups of dry black beans in three cups of water and three cups of vegetable broth. After the beans soaked over night and cooked slowly in simmer for a few hours, I was ready to start. This step can be avoided by purchasing canned black beans.

To make the soup I sauteed a shallot and 4 cloves (of medium size) of garlic with some olive oil in the soup kettle. (An onion can be substituted for the shallot and the garlic can be modified to taste.) I added a chopped red bell pepper after a minute or two. (A stalk of celery and a carrot can be finely chopped to add flavor as well.) I stirred in 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and let the mixture go till the vegetables softened.

I added 6 cups of beans to the kettle after the aromatics began to sweat. To that I added 6 cups of liquid - 3 of water and 3 of vegetable broth. To this mixture I added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.

I brought the mixture to a boil, stirring from time-to-time, then reduced the heat to low and covered the kettle. After 20-30 minutes the soup will start to thicken, add more liquid based on your preference.

For a thicker soup, remove 3 cups of soup, blend, and return to the kettle. For a soup that is thinner,serve as is.

Serving suggestions:
cheese and crackers, grilled cheese on the side, or your favorite sandwich
soup can be topped with diced tomatoes or slivered onions (raw or cooked/caramelized)

This soup is vegetarian with the inclusion of vegetable broth. Chicken or beef broth can be used instead - cook to your taste preference and/or health needs.

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