Thursday, January 14, 2010

Smokey Black Bean and Vegetable Soup

That's not a typo hanging out in this recipe's title; the original recipe was labeled 'Smokey Black Bean,' not 'Smoky Black Bean' ... I tried to figure out if the smokey and smoky have simply become interchangeable in the English lexicon, because in the dictionary, smokey only exists as slang for a state police officer! For tonight I will shrug off spelling oddities, and simply tell you how to make this yummy soup.

The smokiness in question, however it is spelled, comes from chipotle chiles. My trick for chipotles, which are sold canned in adobo sauce, is to freeze them in an ice cube tray, one chile per cube. That way, you can remove one chile as needed, and save the rest for another use. When buying, make sure you purchase a brand with organic sugar or without sugar in the ingredient list, if you worry about bone char.

Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup coarsely chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, 6 tablespoons thinly sliced celery, and 2 minced garlic cloves; saute for 8 minutes.

Add 1 chopped chipotle chile, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, and 1 bay leaf; cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.

Add 1 cup water, 2 and 1/4 cups canned black beans (rinsed and drained), 14.5 ounces of vegetable broth, and 1 (14.5-ounce) can of plum tomatoes, undrained. (I added my bay leaf at this step, too, as I had forgotten it in the step just above). Bring the soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

With regards to the canned tomatoes, I couldn't find a can of specifically labeled plum tomatoes, so I bought regular whole canned tomatoes from Muir Glen. To be honest, however, they look a lot like plum tomatoes to me, not round ones, so perhaps they are simply not labeled as such. The recipe also called for these canned tomatoes to be undrained, and yet chopped. How does one chop a tomato in a can, without draining off the liquid? This issue is one I have encountered before, and my solution is to pour the can of whole tomatoes into the soup, then break the tomatoes apart with my cooking spoon. I'm open to other suggestions, if anyone wants to offer them!

After 2 hours, remove the soup from heat and discard the bay leaf. Ladle 1 and 1/2 cups of soup into a blender, and let it cool for about 5 minutes before processing until smooth. Return this pureed mixture back into the rest of the soup, stirring to combine.

Ladle 1 and 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon plain soy yogurt (such as Whole Soy), and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and serve each bowl with a wedge of lime. Each serving is 170 calories.

onion $0.39
carrot $0.25
celery $3.99
canned black beans $2.49
canned whole tomatoes $2.19
plain soy yogurt $1.59
lime $0.50

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance