Black Bean Soup

I was discussing with a friend, Julie, that I wanted to find a really good black bean soup. I really love the black bean soup at Panera but my one attempt at making it myself was kind of icky. Julie sent me a recipe from RecipeZaar and I tried making it this past weekend. It was delicious! I actually think it is better than Panera's.

serves 4 - 6 people

Make this for an easy and cheap meal and save the leftovers for lunches during the week.

1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 small chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
2 (15 oz) cans of black beans, undrained
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin*
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch

1. In a pot, combine first six ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add half of a can of beans, salt and cumin and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Puree soup using an immersion blender or food processor.**
4. Add the rest of the beans to the soup.
5. Combine cornstarch with 1 1/2 teaspoons of water.
6. Add lemon and cornstarch to soup. Cook until thickened.

* I don't really measure unless I am baking when it comes to spices. I took the whole container of cumin and tried to sprinkle it in and a lot more came out so I would say I added a little more than a teaspoon. This is why you pour some in your hand first.

**I don't own and immersion blender and my food processor is very small so I took a little at a time and put some in the food processor and then put it back in the pot and took some more. Since I was mixing the pureed and unpureed soup, I defintiely didn't get all the chunks out. This worked out alright since I had finely chopped my vegetables. I actually think I prefer it this way so you can see what is in the soup.

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