Friday, November 28, 2003

At Last! Black Bean Soup Recipe

Have you ever looked and looked (and looked?!) for the perfect way to make a certain something? At Last! Black Bean Soup became my "only" black bean soup recipe, gracious! more than 20 years ago now. The recipe originated with the late writer Laurie Colwin and has become one of my "signature" recipes.

At Last Black Bean Soup ♥ KitchenParade.com, Laurie Colwin's recipe. Just dump in the ingredients and cook it on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.


COMPLIMENTS!
"This is now my favourite!" ~ mym(e)


In the seven years I masqueraded as a Texan, I looked and looked (and looked) for a great black bean soup to make at home. After several uninspiring batches, at last! I came upon this recipe, one worth making and adapting again and again.

The original recipe came from Laurie Colwin, the food and fiction writer who died too young in 1992. She wrote a monthly column for Gourmet magazine where I was a brand-new reader. Sadly, she was already gone by the time I discovered her but since she wrote ahead, her columns continued to appear after her death. I read each one with building sadness, knowing the columns would also come to an end. And I felt cheated: her work deserved to continue a long time.

As it turns out, the work of Laurie Colwin lives on. Her books remain in print and contain simple home cooking at its finest. Check your library for copies of Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen and More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen. Reading, you too may feel as if you’ve lost a friend.

FOOD BLOGGERS LOVE LAURIE COLWIN Turns out, I'm not the only one who still misses Laurie Colwin – to say nothing of Gourmet magazine, which also too-soon passed. I wrote a piece for BlogHer (hmmm, also gone ...) called Before There Was Dorie, There Was Laurie: Laurie Colwin, That Is. You'll find links to other Laurie Colwin recipes there too.

EVOLUTION OF A RECIPE Over time, I've adapted Laurie Colwin's recipe for black bean soup to suit my own style and kitchen in the twenty-some years I've been making it. Laurie specified two cups of dried black beans; that's fourteen ounces of beans, a bag is 16 ounces, so I chuck in the whole bag. She used a smidgen of corn; for both color and texture variation, I like quite a lot. She called for vegetable stock; I use the always-on-hand chicken stock and a totally-worth-making-special ham stock.

The next change I'll experiment with is to hold out half the corn and half the sweet potatoes, adding them in the last hour or so for more distinctive color and texture.

ALANNA's TIPS Fourteen cups is a lot – a LOT – of soup so you'll want to choose your very largest pot and even then, make sure it'll hold all the soup. It completely fills our four-quart LeCreuset Dutch oven, fine for cooking in the oven but too small for cooking on the stovetop since there's little room for boiling over if the simmer gets away from me. For the stove, I have to pull out my biggest stockpot. The first time you make this, stay nearby until you identify the proper temperature setting for your stove or slow cooker to maintain a slow simmer. It's one of the reasons why I've come to prefer the oven where I can just set the temperature and let the oven do its work, no adjustment required. Plain diced tomatoes are fine but if you find them, the ones with added green chilies make an especially fine bowl of black bean soup. A finely minced jalapeño pepper adds a welcome extra kick. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after dicing for pepper oil can cause great pain if accidentally rubbed on your eyes or lips. Yes, that's experience talking. :-( To avoid the gas that beans can cause, try a few drops of that stuff called Beano, easily available in grocery stores and also, naturally, on Amazon. Whatever you do, don't skip the lime! The soup will taste like "nothing" – completely bland – without it. Without lime, you'll be thinking I'm a crazy woman, loving this soup so much! Restaurants, especially, garnish black bean soup with chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Go ahead, load up if you like, it's good that way, if unnecessary, since the soup itself is so-so-SO good. Great news! At Last! Black Bean Soup freezes beautifully!

AT LAST! BLACK BEAN SOUP RECIPE

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total preparation time: 7 – 9 hours
Makes 14 cups
    QUICK COLD SOAK
  • 16 ounces dried black beans
  • 3 cups cold water
    NOW JUST DUMP!
  • 1 - 2 ham shanks or ham hocks, optional but recommended
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (ham stock is especially good)
  • 28 ounces (800g) canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce (454g) bag frozen corn
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 small unpeeled red or 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced or 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced, optional but recommended
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    TO FINISH
  • Juice from 1 lime (don't skip the lime!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

QUICK COLD SOAK Place beans in colander. Sift through with your fingers, discarding shriveled beans and foreign objects. Wash thoroughly and sift through again. Place beans and cold water in a four-quart (or larger) dutch oven and soak for one hour. (Yes, an hour! No need to soak overnight! It works, I promise!)

NOW JUST DUMP! Put the pot onto the stove on medium high. As the pot heats up, add all the remaining ingredients (except the lime juice and seasoning) and stir. Bring it to a boil.

TO CONTINUE ON THE STOVE Cover and reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook for 5 – 7 hours or until beans are soft and fully cooked. While cooking, stir occasionally, adjusting heat and adding additional stock as needed. Taste as you go along, adding salt and pepper as needed.

~or~ CONTINUE IN THE OVEN Cover and let slow cook in the oven for 4 hours at 300F or for 8 hours at 200F. (A combination also works, 2 hours at 300F and 6 hours at 200F, very convenient for making in the evening and cooking overnight!) Check occasionally to see if extra liquid is needed and for seasoning but in my experience, in the oven, it's not.

~or~ CONTINUE IN A SLOW COOKER I know I've made this in the slow cooker before but have no particular notes about how it goes. That said, this recipe seems well-suited to a slow cooker, I would recommend 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low. Because slow cooker performance varies so much, please stay close and watch how it goes.

TO FINISH Remove the ham shanks and let the meat cool. Pull the meat off the bone and shred into the soup, discarding the fat. Before discarding the bones, if you used ham shanks, do enjoy the bone marrow with a tiny spoon: cook's treat! Laurie Colwin then recommends puréeing about 2 cups of soup in a blender or a food processor (I use an immersion blender right in the pot, it works fine) to add back into the soup. That said, I don't find this necessary; especially in the oven, the beans become quite creamy. Now, most important, squeeze in the lime juice, it makes ALL the difference!

MAKE-AHEAD BLACK BEAN SOUP I make this soup ahead of time all the time, it reheats beautifully though some times does need additional liquid.

NUTRITION INFOMATION Per Cup, without/with ham shank: 166/220 Calories; 1/3g Tot Fat; 0/1g Sat Fat; 33/36g Carb; 10g Fiber; 521/648mg Sodium; 0/19mg Cholesterol; 3/4g Sugar; 9/15g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3/4 & WW Points Plus 4/6 & WW SmartPoints 5/6. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = half cup/two-thirds cup (6/7g protein).

NOW JUST DUMP!


At Last Black Bean Soup ♥ KitchenParade.com, Laurie Colwin's recipe. Just dump in the ingredients and cook it on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.

Once the black beans soak for an hour – yes, just for an hour, it works, I promise! – just dump in the remaining ingredients and let it cook. This makes At Last! Black Bean Soup so extra-easy to make.


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that you searched for for a long while? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Supper-Hearty Soup Recipes

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Creamy Wild Rice Soup Turkey Sweet Potato Soup Karelian Borscht (Finnish - Russian Beet Borscht Soup)
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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Monday, November 24, 2003

Turkey Sweet Potato Soup

One of my oldest recipes, a healthy colorful soup made with sweet potatoes and leftover turkey. It's like a bowlful of fall color. And it's extra easy to make, there's no need to even sauté the onion and celery before adding the rest of the ingredients. Just chop 'em up and cook 'em! For the Weight Watchers? Just three or four points! For everyone? A very tasty satisfying soup, a great way to return to "normal eating".

I'm republishing this 2003 recipe because it's such and a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Looking for more ways to use up leftover turkey? Check here for lots of ideas!

Turkey Sweet Potato Soup, a healthy colorful soup made with sweet potatoes & leftover turkey. For Weight Watchers, just #PP3. #KitchenParade

Autumn is upon us. The air is crisp, the sky that shade-deeper autumn blue. The leaves are at their peak, dressed in their fall finery of russet and gold. The leaf tourists are about too, clogging the country roads and stopping for pie and coffee and a small-town welcome along the way.

Here, the mums planted last year are in full flower. I think of their hues as ‘roasted pumpkin’ and ‘pale eggplant’ and ‘fried-egg yellow’. Even in the garden, I’m thinking about the next meal!

My sister made this colorful soup when the family gathered before Christmas last year. The original recipe called for more bacon and 2% milk. It was delicious! I’ve adapted the recipe, to no detriment I believe, to lower the calorie count.

ALANNA's TIPS The best thing about this soup is that the vegetables need not be sautéed beforehand but cook in the broth, making preparation ever so easy. The soup can simmer atop the stove for a long time; if so, add the peas just before serving to keep their bright green color. Watch the cayenne pepper; the original recipe’s quarter teaspoon was too much but you may want more than the small amount specified here. Leftover turkey is moister and more flavorful but in a pinch, use precooked turkey. It's also great with smoked turkey, which is often quite inexpensive.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

TURKEY SWEET POTATO SOUP

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Makes 9 cups
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups Turkey Stock or Homemade Chicken Stock or 15-ounces canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey (leftover or pre-cooked)
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled (optional but delicious, see How to Bake Bacon in the Oven)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas (no need to thaw)

Combine sweet potatoes, celery, onion, garlic, water and broth in an 8-quart Dutch oven. Add marjoram, thyme and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow boil and cook about 15 minutes until sweet potatoes are fully cooked.

Stir in turkey and bacon, let warm through.

Combine cornstarch and milk in a small dish, then stir it slowly into the soup mixture. Cook until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in peas and let cook for one minute. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cup (without/with bacon): 129/150 Calories; 1/3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 15/17g Carb; 2g Fiber; 285/355mg Sodium; 24/28mg Cholesterol; 13/14g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2/3 & WW PointsPlus 3/4

More Belly-Warming Healthy Soup Recipes

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Creamy Wild Rice Soup Hamburger Soup Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup
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from Kitchen Parade


We Luv-Luv-Luv Sweet Potatoes!

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)