Black Bean and Vegetable Soup

Well, if you are like me, then it doesn't quite feel like fall with temperatures in Southern California still in the 80's and 90's, but that won't stop me from starting to enjoy some of my fall favorites. At the top on my list for fall favorites are soups. A good hearty soup is a great starter or even better meal when accompanied with fresh baked bread. One of my favorite soups is Black Bean soup. It is a hearty and versatile soup that is super easy to make. 

Ingredients:

1 Bag of dried Black Beans (You can substitute canned but using dried makes a taste difference, in my opinion)

2 Peeled Yellow Onions

2 Bunches Cilantro

3 Large Peeled Carrots

5 Vine Ripened Tomatoes

5 Cloves peeled Garlic

2T Sour Cream 

1T Tomato Paste

2T Cumin

2T Salt

2T Ground Black Pepper

1t White Pepper

2T Garlic Powder

10 Dashes Tabasco 

3T Olive Oil

Approximately 1/2 Gal Vegetable stock

The process is simple, give all your vegetables a rough chop and sauté in 3 T of Olive oil for 4/5 minutes (keeping your cilantro out for later). Add your black beans and vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth if you prefer), make sure you completely cover all the ingredients by an inch. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer on low until beans are tender @ 2 hours (again if you use canned beans than all you need is about 30 minutes for vegetable to soften). Add the remaining ingredients (spices) holing back one bunch of cilantro and sour cream for garnishing. 

Preferred Method: (I love the texture when it is blended, if you don't then you will need to chop your vegetable to a desired eating size).

Take a stick blender and puree all ingredients. This is where you can add more liquid if you find it is too thick. Also, after everything is blended, taste and add more spice if you like. (Tasting as you cook is essential to everything coming out just right, never take a recipe at face value without tasting as you go).

Garnish: 

Chop cilantro and sprinkle on top, drizzle sour cream (use squeeze bottle to get the swirling effect). Also, one final garnish I enjoy is fresh salsa and occasionally some tortilla chips for dipping :-)

Enjoy! More soups to come.