Ahh, there's nothing quite like a steaming bowl of homemade black bean soup. And it's so simple to do, and so incredibly inexpensive to make.
I've made several batches, tweaking Kathy's recipe for Black Bean Soup II over at Allrecipes.com. Kathy's calls for two cans of black beans, which helps speed up cooking time immensely. But I've always enjoyed making soup on the weekends, when I have extra time, and stock up the fridge with plenty for quick lunches during the work week. Dried black beans are so cheap, and it's just a matter of covering them with water in a resealable container overnight.
Included in our "Fruity Booty" organic produce share from Annie's Buying Club this past week were beautiful red peppers. I chopped up one of those, along with organic onion, and organic garlic. As a special little twist, I decided to spoon in some South River Miso unpasteurized miso, in Garlic Red Pepper flavor. WOW! That gave the soup an incredible kick. I'm going to have to make it this way from now on. But if you don't have miso paste on hand, not a problem. The soup is still delicious, even without (just adjust the salt to taste, if not using miso). However, if you are using unpasteurized miso, do remember that it is a probiotic food and it is alive (read: don't cook it and kill all the good bacteria). The miso is added at the very end of cooking, with the heat turned off. Here is the super-easy recipe:
1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups water
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp chile flakes
1 tbsp plain rice vinegar
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to season later with fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp South River Miso Garlic Red Pepper paste (optional)
In a dutch oven, sautee the onion, garlic, and red pepper in olive oil until soft.
Add the water, beans, cumin, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, chile flakes, and rice vinegar. Also add 1 tsp salt at this point.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until beans are soft. Turn off the heat. Ladle out 1/2 cup of the broth, and stir together with the miso paste. Return this mixture to the pot.
Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Season with fresh ground black pepper, and add more salt, if desired.
Sometimes I'll add a rib or two of diced celery in with the mix of sauteed vegetables. Totally up to you! Feel free to drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, or add some chopped tomato when serving. Enjoy! :)
Garlic Red Pepper Miso image courtesy of SouthRiverMiso.com