Saturday, October 17, 2009

conceeding to fall

Note: this post was started a few days ago but then camera problems meant I had no pictures of soup to show you! I've decided to post sans-photo to just get this up.

I love summer. So when fall comes, despite it's many charms, I have trouble letting go of summer. After freezing all day yesterday in my ballet flats and tshirt, I have given in to fall. After all, it is mid-October. So today I put on my favorite black bean boots and a sweater, and after a long day of work came home to make black bean soup.

I had bought a bag of black beans a while ago and had planned to make a batch of black beans. Then I started seeing all these black bean soup recipes and it seemed like the perfect thing to try out.

Like typical, I didn't quite follow a recipe, but had one out to use as a guide. I don't feel confident in my cooking abilities to cook much without a recipe, but I don't keep up well enough with recipes to follow them perfectly either. I started with this recipe from The Kitchn (I do love that site.) Then I altered the ingredients based on what I had in the fridge. I had a green pepper but also a red pepper that was on its last legs. I did have a whole yellow onion but in the fridge I had both a half of a yellow and a half of a red onion.

1 package of dried black beans - 1 pound
Half a yellow onion, half a red onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
about 5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne and paprika, about 3 dashes each/ to taste

I chopped up the peppers and onion, swirled some olive oil in a pot and started to saute them. Of course, that's when I realize I a) forgot the garlic and b) wasn't supposed to saute them. I thought it could still add a nice flavor so I kept them on the stove while chopping the garlic. Then I added the garlic and black beans, poured water on top until it was about an inch above the top of the beans, and added the olive oil and chicken broth.

I had decided to use chicken broth instead of a ham bone because my roommate's Jewish but I still wanted some rich meaty flavor. After bringing it to a boil, I skimmed of the 'foam' (which I dumped outside due to some current plumbing problems.) Then tossed in some cayenne and paprika. I let it simmer for about 3 hours then added the vinegar.

I'm not sold on this soup. The first time I ate it I added cheese and some salsa fresca I had. The salsa plus the vinegar added too much tang, so the next time I had it without the tang. This helped but I still want a more creamy black bean soup. If I made it again, I'll let it simmer even longer. It could also use a bit more spice. Perhaps I was just missing the ham bone- any suggestions for pork substitutes?

While not perfect, the soup is still good so I've frozen half and plan to eat the rest over the next few days. I bought some sour cream and am thinking a few dashes of hot sauce will create the perfect rainy day dinner.

No comments: