I love soups. They are full of flavor and nutrients, easy to digest, and filling. Today is a cold and rainy day and I want something to warm me up. A vegetarian dinner will help off-set yesterday’s chocolate indulgence. When you hear the word vegetarian you may think of a plate of boring vegetables, but this soup is about as far from boring as you can get! Have you ever tried chipotle chiles? They are smoked jalapenos, typically found dried or in adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is a combination of vinegar, herbs and spices, and is often used in Mexican cooking. If you are using dried chiles, you will need to reconstitute them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, remove the stem and seeds, and chop coarsely. If you just wanted the smoky flavor without the heat, you could use some smoked paprika instead.
This recipe from Whole Foods Market is delicious and nutritious. But, looking at the ingredients list, I don’t have everything it calls for. That’s alright, now is when I get to be creative! I don’t have any dried black beans in my pantry, but I do have canned beans. They are a great time-saving substitute. Because they are already cooked, you can have this soup on the table in no time. Dried beans are smaller than cooked beans, so I’m guessing that about 3 to 4 cans will be enough for this soup. You will need to drain and rinse them well before using. Assemble your ingredients and sauté the vegetables, chiles and seasonings as directed. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Instead of simmering this for a couple of hours, it’s only going to take about 30 minute to blend the flavors. This is a hearty, chunky soup, but if you prefer it smooth, use an immersion blender or regular blender just before serving to purée it. Make sure you take out the bay leaf first!
- 2 cups (dry) black beans, rinsed
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 2 cups chopped red onion
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano, or 3 tbsp fresh
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 3 chopped canned chipotle chilies
- 2 tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers
- 12 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- Sea salt, to taste
- Soak the black beans overnight or 6 to 8 hours prior to cooking. Drain well before using.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the red onion, peppers and garlic; sauté until the onion is translucent. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the oregano, cumin, chipotle chilies, and adobo sauce; sauté for 1 minute. Add the cold water, bay leaf, and soaked beans. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Stir in the cocoa powder, orange juice, cilantro, scallions, and salt; continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- The smoky, spicy almost chocolate-like flavor of this soup comes from chipotle chilies, an ingredient that is very popular in the Southwest. Chipotle chilies, which are smoked jalapeños, can be found dried, pickled or canned in thick adobo sauce. This recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa, which adds a warmth to the complex flavor of this soup. Enjoy it with corn bread to buffer the chilies.
Ha! I certainly hope they are the kind you would find in a bakery …
Are those your buns in the header photo? I mean buns as in bakery items!!!!!!!!!!!!!