Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black Bean Soup + Toasted Cumin Seed Crema

I finally found it. I finally found a black bean soup that I LOVE! I don't know how many black bean disasters we've gone through in this house. They are just always so bland...over-cooked, under-spiced. But this, this was absolutely delicious!Just look at all that vegetable goodness, you know you want some! And who knew you could cook beans in your crock pot so quickly and easily?
As she mentions in the recipe, this really is made by the toasted cumin seed crema. I did go out and buy cumin seeds and ground them in my pepper grinder myself (are you kidding me? I certainly don't have a mortar and pestle!), which I thought gave a delicious taste. However, I don't think you need to necessarily do so if you are in a pinch. Just use ground cumin and salt for a decently good taste. I also used sour cream. I'm on a student budget, so I have to stick to basic ingredients most days, especially since I splurged on those heavenly cumin seeds!
My beans were done in 3 1/2 hours, she mentions that there is some variability with cooking times, so that's where mine felt.
I definitely think this recipe depends on good toppings - I even added a little cheese, but it's to date my favorite black bean soup. It's healthy. It's delicious. It's easy. We at it for left-overs for days on end without any complaints. What more can you ask for?
4 stars.

Black Bean Soup with Chipotle and Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraîche
Adapted from Bon Appetit

We finished this soup, by the way. Every last serving. We never do that. It’s magic, I tell you.

A big note about cooking times: The original recipe says 6 hours. Mine were done at 2 hours 45 minutes. Do black beans vary wildly in cooking time? Do slow cookers vary wildly in cooking time? These are all pressing questions. Check your beans at 3 hours, and holler at me in the comments if your cooking time ends up being much longer.

Yields 6 main course servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles from a can (this gives it a solid kick, dial back if you are wary)
7 cups hot water (I just used very hot tap water)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir one minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours. [See note up top.]

Transfer two cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste; we found we needed more salt. Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of toasted cumin seed cream (below) over each bowl and serve.

Do ahead: This soup keeps great in the fridge, and even thickens a bit. In a good way!

Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraîche
Hacked from Bobby Flay

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 cup crema or crème fraîche (or make your own crema, make your own crème fraîche, or swap sour cream or yogurt, for a close-enough taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the cumin in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly golden brown. Place in spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until coarse. Stir it into the creme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

1 comment:

  1. Ok I think it is safe to say that you are offically my idol. I need to step it up in the kitchen. Can we come over and eat ;o)