Soups are economical and easy to prepare. Generally, the way I make it is the same. Sauté the vegetables with seasonings. Add broth and other pantry ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer. My soup recipes all have a pattern. Once you learn how to make soup, it’s so easy to change a few ingredients and have a new dish.
For example, instead of black beans, you can use white beans and change the seasonings from Mexican to Italian (use oregano instead of cumin, coriander and chile powder). Instead of cilantro, add chopped parlsey; instead of tortilla strips, add pasta; and instead of cheddar cheese, add grated Parmesan. It's all about the process.
I love this soup because it just tastes so good and it's easy to make. If you need an overview on soups, check my prior blog post "How to Make Soup" in which I go over some basics. Most of the ingredients can be kept in the pantry with the exception of the carrots and celery (and really, these keep a long time in the fridge).
The next time you find yourself saying, "what should I make for dinner?", why not try this recipe? You will be happy you did!
Black Bean Soup
Bean Soup Base:
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
Seasonings: 1 Tbl mild chili powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper, 1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, and oregano
1 c or 8 oz chopped ham (optional)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed or 4 cups of cooked beans
1 qt chicken or vegetable broth
Optional Ingredients: 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
Toppings: 1/2 c shredded cheddar, 2-3 Tbl chopped cilantro, 1/2 c sour cream, crushed tortilla chips
1. Heat pot to medium first. Add oil, then add onion, carrot, celery, and seasonings. Stir once and cook, stirring only occasionally, making sure vegetables don’t burn but that they are browning.
2. After a few minutes, add the ham and stir once. Continue cooking until ham has browned and vegetables are soft.
3. Add garlic and salt and cook for 1 more minute.
4. Add beans and broth. If you want something more like chili, add the can of diced tomatoes.
5. Simmer about 30 minutes. Top each bowl with cheddar, cilantro, sour cream and tortilla strips.
Gluten-Free Tip: Make sure the broth you use is gluten-free. Also, you might need to check the beans with the manufacturer to make sure they were not processed on machines that process foods with gluten. Everything else should be gluten-free as long as it has been handled appropriately, without any cross contamination issues (e.g. cutting the vegetables on a cutting board which has been used to cut regular bread).