I didn’t eat soup for a very, very long time. I have texture issues with food, and the crap that came out of the Campbell’s can didn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
I’ve slowly learned the error of my ways. My mom started out with potato soup, which I loved, and worked up from there. Now, one of my all time favorite meals is black bean soup. The downside to my upbringing is that my mom always made everything from scratch. Always. Beans meant dried beans that simmered on the stove all day. Tomato sauce made from canned tomatoes from my great uncle’s garden. Tupperware containers full of homemade chicken stock. Poundcakes with eggs from a family friend.
And before you ask, she was/is a single mother working 12 hour shifts at the hospital, with two rather ravenous children, which made the feat that much more impressive. As such, not only am I spoiled, I’m a bit of a food Nazi when it comes to prepared foods. Don’t get me wrong, I eat my fare share of crap. Several people’s fair shares, in fact. But when I cook, I like to cook without a lot of shortcuts. Which also means I feel terribly guilty when I use a shortcut, even things like pre-shredded cheese or canned beans.
I’ve gotten over it though. With rather messy roommates and not a whole lot of kitchen space, at least not for 5 people, I’ve learned to adapt. Which is where this black bean soup comes in. It combines a lot of my food idio syncrasies- simple shortcuts (canned beans), zucchini, my vegetable obsession (carrots, etc) and my texture issues (tomatoes pureed, soup partially pureed). The best part is that it takes less than an hour from start to finish, is completely vegetarian (technically it’s vegan if you nix the sour cream, but I hate the idea of veganism, so screw it.) and serves a crowd. One of my roommates even told me it was better than Panera. High praise.
Black Bean Soup
This soup is good for clearing out leftover veggies too.
2 cans of black beans, a can of corn, a can of stewed tomatoes, 2 zucchini, 2 leftover bits of pepper (green and orange), a jalapeno, carrots, garlic, and purple Cippollini onions (because that’s what I had lying around). As for spices, aside from kosher salt and pepper, I think it is illegal to have beans without cumin. We also had several large bags of basil lying around (don’t ask), so I tossed that in as well.
Chop 2-4 cloves of garlic and 4-5 onions and saute in the bottom of a stock pot with olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. While they cook, chop the zucchini and peppers, add to the pot. Add the carrots, corn and black beans. Run the tomatoes through the blender (if you want) and add. Top off with a glass or two of whatever wine you have lying around and basil. After it’s simmered and reduced for about 15-20 minutes, run one third to one half of the mixture through the blender and add back tot he pot. Continue until desired consistence is reached. Serve in bowls (over rice if you want) with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.