With the last days of winter and Lent coinciding, it's nice to have a hot meal that doesn't rely on meat. Black bean soup is the best dish for this.It is filling and satisfying, great for a chilly March night,
Julia Moskin wrote about in in Wednesday's New York Times' Food section. Black beans have been around for ages, being a decidedly American bean, growing only on the North American continent. There have always been recipes regarding them in soup, In fact , Ms. Moskin cites a recipe The Times has printed in 1879, that has home chefs cooking them for three to four hour and then rubbed against a colander to create a paste. The soup tirned out to be smooth and murky, often thinned with cream and served with a sliced lemon and sieved egg. The famed James Beard suggested stirring in a glass of madeira to brighten his black bean soup recipe.. (although a glass of madeira was added to every soup recipe of his). The bean became super popular in the 1970's thanks to the uprise in vegetrian cooking. Thanks to another famed chef, Jeremiah Towers, black beans became the defining ingredient in Califrnia cusine as he created black bean cakes, thick tortillas made from a kind of bean dough and topped with creme fraiche and salsa.What is great about these beans is that they don't need any kind of meat to give them more flavor. The beans absorn the flavors of the aromatics cooked with them.
The recipe is a tasty looking one and I'm eager to try it. Ms. Moskin does add chiles, chipotle and jalapeno for heat along with such aromatics as oregano and bay leaves. The recipe starts out with a non traditional kind of sofrito. Along with the chiles it has carrots and onions cooked in oil with garlic. This is then deglazd with a cup of red wine . The broth used can be chicken but vegetable can be used, especially if the soup is designated for a Lenten meal.. Salt isn't added until the beans are at least halfway cooked, and the heat can only be turmed up in the begiinning to create a hard boil for only ten to fifteen minutes. Home chefs can use an immersion blender for pureeing the mixture into a satiny soup.. This will give it a lush mouth feel, like a rich cream one. This way doesn't have to be set in stone. Home chefs can leave the beans whole and serve them over a bowl of white rice.It can also be used as a side dish with quesdadillas or fajitas.Ms. Moskin advises not to cook it in a pressure cooking because it will turn the texture into a kind of pudding with no liquid left. The finished dish is served with a blob of sour cream and avocado slices. I wouldn't mind adding a few crumbled tacos on top for more texture.
A fiery , creamy black bean soup is the perfect dinner for a blustery Lenten night. It is hearty and spicy without being too overpowering. It's the right soup for these days ahead.