Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Black bean and vegetable soup

I love Amy's Organic Black Bean and Vegetable Soup-it's one of my favorite things to eat at lunch. However, it is expensive- I've found it for about $2 at Wal-Mart, but it's over $3 everywhere else...and, in my opinion, that is a lot of money for one little can. I love the particular flavor of that soup, but have had a hard time finding a recipe that has the same ingredients, so I decided to make my own. I simply went by the ingredients listed on the can and estimated the amounts of each item. I was happy with the flavor, and I love that it is a very healthy and (to me) satisfying soup. This is not a traditional black bean soup, but rather a pureed soup of black beans, vegetables, and other spices. If you like Amy's, then this is a similar type of soup.

I used dried beans and soaked and cooked them, but you can use canned as well if you want to save time. I'll include directions for both.

Black bean and vegetable soup

I N G R E D I E N T S :

1 1/4 cups dried black beans, or 2 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. oil (I used canola)
1 onion, diced*
2 large cloves garlic (or 3 small cloves), minced
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 tsp. salt (I used kosher)**
1/2 tsp. black pepper** 
1 1/2 cups corn (I used frozen)
4 cups vegetable stock
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2-1 tsp. chili powder **
1/2-1 tsp. ground cumin**
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish

* The Amy's soup also uses leeks. I did not have any, but if you do, then you can add one in as well. Discard green part. Dice the white part, rinsing very well to remove sand and dirt, and add it in when you saute the onion.
**I am pretty sure of these amounts, but I may have added a little more. So if you make this and it seems bland, just add some more of each spice. I also sprinkled in a little garlic powder and onion powder for extra flavor at the just depends on how flavorful you want it to be :)

D I R E C T I O N S :

When preparing with dried beans:
Combine 1 1/4 cups dried black beans with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and Rinse.
Combine rinsed beans with 4 fresh cups water and simmer until tender, for around 1 1/2 hours.

When preparing with canned beans:
Simply add beans to the soup when called for below.

If you are preparing the soup with dried beans, soak and cook them. While they are cooking, in a separate pot (I used a dutch oven), heat oil over medium heat and saute onion (and leeks, if using) and garlic, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add celery and carrots, as well as salt and pepper, and cook until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn in for the last couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable stock, chili powder, cumin, and cilantro.

Once your beans have finished cooking, drain them (or if using canned beans, drain and rinse at this point). Set aside one cup of them to add in later, but go ahead and add the rest of the beans to the pot along with the vegetables at this point. Add the potatoes as well. Bring the soup to a boil, and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. One it is pureed to your liking, add in the remaining cup of beans. Simmer for 20 more minutes, or until beans are as tender as you like them.

Garnish with sour cream and cilantro. This would be good served with blue chips as well.

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