Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy Peasy, and a LOT of beans!

Severeal years ago, I found this recipe for Black Bean Soup. It is souper easy (I crack myself up!) and is the perfect combination of yum and comfort on a cold winter afternoon. The only problem is, I can't keep 4 cans of black beans in my house long enough to just happen to have everything on hand when that cold winter afternoon pops up. Either I didn't get the tomato paste/peanut butter/listerine hoarding gene (you know who you are), or I've successfully rationalized with myself that our little 850 square foot home isn't the ideal place for stocking up on groceries. I must credit Dave Lieberman for this recipe, and doing so makes it a little more bearable to make a run to the store to get the beans in the chilly weather because I feel that as a phellow Philadelphian, Dave must have had do to that too. At least once, right?!

A cold afternoon and a lack of interest in the NFL playoffs made for the perfect setting to create a pot of soup. It's one of Hubby's favorites, so I knew I wouldn't be eating it myself for days.

The recipe calls for a pound of bacon, but seriously, that's a lot of bacon. I use maybe 4 strips. And I drain the fat off before adding the onions. Bacon makes everything better but sometimes I need to make myself feel better about how much I use it in cooking. So anyway, I sauted the bacon til crisp (Don't cheat yourself on time; make sure it actually gets crisp. The texture of the whole soup is so much better without soft bacon.), drain a little fat if you'd like, and then add the onion, and about 4 minutes later, add the garlic. Before the garlic burns (let it cook maybe 2 minutes), add a can of diced tomatoes, or whole tomatoes if you have a handy dandy tool with which to break them up. Then add 1 can's worth of chicken broth, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of Worchestershire Sauce, (Worchester---- I can't even do it. I was going to pull an overused Rach line, but I'll spare you) and 2 teaspoons of chili powder. Stir that up, bring to a slow boil, and add 4 cans of drained, but not rinsed, black beans.

Return it to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in as much chopped cilantro as you can handle (or skip it if you refer to cilantro as "the devil herb"). You can garnish with sliced scallions, cheddar cheese, sour cream, or any combination of the 3. It's pretty hard to mess this up.

So I've decided that one of my New Years Resolutions will be to keep the canned goods needed for black bean soup on hand. If I don't make such a specific resolution, I'll never keep it. Not much of an accomplishment if I have a year to make it happen, but hey; it's the little things in life.

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