I don't know about you, but this frigid winter and my kids' carb addiction are ganging up on me and forcing me — yes, forcing me — to surrender to endless pasta dinners. I am helpless against the pasta dinners! Thank God for children or we'd have to own up to our bad habits.…
My other post-baby bad cooking habit is dulling down recipes so to increase the odds the kids will eat things. Do you do that? I know, I know, I'm digging my own grave with this one.
I'm trying to force myself to push it on seasoning so they don't end up as wimps who find onion or garlic spicy. It's something I find so unattractive in adults (even though I'm a bit of a wimp myself) and I can only guess that picky grown ups began as picky kids. But I also like my kids to eat so I like meals that can be tweaked in the final moments to make them more appealing to me and Ben. This black bean soup is based on one from Delia Smith's Winter Collection. If you don't know her, check her out. A pre-Nigella British cook book author, her recipes are sophisticated yet fairly simple to pull off.
The kids had the soup plain with some bread; for me and Ben I added a dollop of plain yogurt and a spicy salsa. Both black beans and avocado are full of fibre, which leaves you feeling really satisfied and does your body good.
Black Bean Soup
2 or 3 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
glug of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped small
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, washed well, stems minced - keep leaves for salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
2 19 oz cans of black beans, rinsed
1 litre container low sodium chicken stock
pinch of pepper
I just whipped this together so I don't have amounts — sorry. But approx:
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tomato diced
handful of cilantro leaves
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
pinch of chili pepper, minced (add more if you want more kick)
In a heavy bottomed, large pot, sautee bacon pieces in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until they start to crisp up. Add onion, garlic, cilantro stalks, carrots and celery and allow to soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and cook for another minute or 2.
Add rinsed beans and stock. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes over very low heat. Stir every 5 minutes or so, just to be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Chop up your salsa ingredients while soup is bubbling away (as gently as possible, Delia despises a boiled soup!) and let them sit together in a bowl to let flavours develop.
Take soup off the heat and allow to cool a bit.
Use either a blender to puree in small batches or, do as I did and use an immersion blender to make a puree. Check taste. If you're using bacon you shouldn't need any more salt but maybe that pinch of pepper at this point.
Serve plain or with a dollop of plain yogurt and salsa. I like to stir it all together so my bowl of soup is spicier.