Soup from scratch all the more comforting | Chef Dez
Here we are in January. This is the time of year that is filled with healthy resolutions, but because of the cold temperatures and still limited daylight hours, we also yearn for comfort food. Allow me to help you satisfy both in a single recipe.
During my trips to the grocery store, I always see people stocking up on canned soups. Although I do realize that making a soup from scratch requires more effort than a few turns of a can opener, the rewards are much greater. Not only are you in control of your ingredients, but the flavor and texture can be so much better.
This recipe is the perfect solution because the cut size doesn't really matter too much since the whole soup is pureed anyway. Less cutting means less effort on your part. There is an abundance of fresh vegetables in this soup and black beans are a great source of protein and dietary fiber, among other nutritional aspects. Yes, I do realize that the first ingredient is bacon, but this can easily be replaced with a bit of coconut oil or other healthy cooking oil. However, if you feel that your diet regimen can handle some bacon moderation, this is less than 1/3 of a pound of bacon for 10 cups of soup.
This recipe can also be found on page 55 of my latest cookbook "The Best In Your Kitchen" available from my website or worldwide through Amazon. Happy Cooking!
Black Bean Soup
(Makes approximately 10 cups)
125g bacon slices, cut into smaller pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped - seeds & membrane removed for mild
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 - 540ml cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup jarred salsa of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish, optional
1. Add the bacon pieces to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat and cook until fat has been rendered from the bacon. It should be cooked but not necessarily crisp, stirring occasionally.
2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the diced onions, green peppers, carrots, celery, jalapenos, garlic and some salt and pepper to the bacon and bacon fat. Cover and cook until the vegetables are mostly soft, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the black beans and 3 cups of the chicken stock.
4. Add the cilantro, tomatoes, cumin and salsa. Puree with a hand blender until smooth. Use the remaining cup of chicken stock to thin the soup to your desired consistency while pureeing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Heat to desired temperature and serve each bowl garnished with an optional dollop of sour cream and/or a sprig of cilantro
Chef Dez is a food columnist, culinary instructor and cookbook author. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4.