Up until last year, I loathed black beans. The texture and the color were two reasons I wouldn’t go near them. I’ve never been a huge bean person to begin with. I mean, they kiiiind of look like tiny terds. (I know, I’m not painting an appetizing picture before I launch this recipe but lets be honest, lots of things look like terds and we still eat them) I’m not sure what shifted but one day I suddenly became comfortable with this bean. (all beans really) Since then, I have found a multitude of ways to incorporate them in recipes I serve up everyday. They really are quite flexible and incredibly healthy. They are rich in fiber, potassium, folate and Vitamin B6; not too shabby for something resembling a tiny terd.
Now, I live with a bunch of finicky bitches. The worst one-my husband. He can sniff out a healthy dish from 20 miles away. You would think the 11 and 6 year old would be the issue–no–it’s Josh. He likes easy food, out of package that can be prepared in under 3 minutes. Sometimes, he will storm downstairs, whip open the refrigerator doors and promptly declare that we have absolutely nothing to eat in this house. (when in fact, the fridge is packed with fruits and veggies-all things necessary in creating a complex meal) Cooking isn’t his gig. Healthy eating, not his gig. He likes sodium, starch, meat and cheese. Lots of chemicals, don’t hold out on the difficult to pronounce ingredients–those are his favorite. Soooooo, I have to be creative in how I approach healthy eating. I also have to work within flavor profiles he enjoys. Black beans happen to be one of his faves. Hence, this soup.
This recipe does require soaking your own black beans but I suppose if you are feeling lazy you could just chuck some canned ones in here. I think it makes a big difference to use fresh black beans. I also highly recommend using homemade chicken stock which I try and have on hand for occasions such as this. Anytime I have any chicken bones at my disposal, I make stock. It’s a wonderful thing to have shoved in your freezer. Overall, this is an easy to make recipe that requires one pot (after soaking the beans of course) and results in a deeply flavorful, cathartic experience.
In other news, you will see the photography here is a little different. That is because I actually put some effort in for today’s post. I’m by no means a professional photographer but I am hoping to learn enough over the next few months to produce beautiful photos that showcase my food in a delectable fashion. After having a long chat with Josh; I think this is the year I’m going for the cookbook which means a lot of effort into this blog. Literary agents want proof of an audience as well as an established brand. This means I have to refine my style, my recipe content and eventually come up with a pristine proposal that sells what sets me apart from the crowd. I’ll be focusing on desserts and breakfast items but don’t worry; I’ll keep posting savory items here on the reg. The goal is to have a minimum of 6 tested recipes to comprise an introductory chapter as well as all the other components necessary for a proposal in 8 months. In terms of this blog, I will post 1-2 solid, well photographed recipes every week. I know I have a voice and I know there are people out there that want to hear it. Life is too short not to go for it–so I’m going for it. What’s the worst that can happen? I get turned down? I probably will. But then I just keep looking for those who believe in me and chugging along. Better to know than to not. In general, I am so excited at the prospect of at least going for it.
P.S. As much as I make fun of Josh and his eating habits; he is the best cheerleader a gal could ever ask for. The cookbook is something he has pushed for years; citing that if I don’t go for it; I’m wasting my talent. He’s incredible. Fetches my camera when I need it, puts up with my chaos and tells me when my food is shitty (but also when it’s really fucking good).
1-1/2 cups dried black beans
2 tablespoons pork lard or olive oil (I highly suggest the pork lard, you can find it at Whole Foods)
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced (seeds removed, obviously)
7 garlic gloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4-5 cups of chicken stock
Garnishes: anything you want. I made some fresh pico de gallo, placed it on top with cilantro, sour cream and some diced red onions. You can make this as simple or as complex as you like. Oh, and don’t forget a nice big squeeze of fresh lime.
In a sauce pot, toss in the black beans with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and remove from heat. DO NOT TOUCH, don’t even peak, don’t open that lid for anything until 90 full minutes have passed. Then drain the beans and put aside. (I cooked mine the day before when I had a little extra energy, that way they’d be ready when I finally wanted to make this soup). In a large saucepan (like the size you would boil pasta in), heat the lard over medium heat and throw in the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them to be soft and slightly browned. Turn the heat up to high and cook until most of the moisture has been sizzled away. Now, add the vinegar, stir and allow to cook until you can no longer smell that sharp pang. Add the stock, bring to a boil. Add the drained beans, stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Toss into a blender and pulse until the soup is a consistency you prefer. At this point, I usually add a little extra chicken stock just to thin things out a bit. I don’t like ridiculously thick soup. Season if necessary. Serve hot.