Soup Is Always Right!
We knew snow was coming on a wintry afternoon a while back, but the word was 1 to 3 inches here in my part of central North Carolina. Turned out to be much more than that — ten to twelve inches around here, though it varied considerably from place to place.
My friend Kathleen Purvis, prolific food writer and author of several books on food and cooking, lives in Charlotte NC. When a snowstorm was predicted there a while back, she offered help to readers of her recipe column in the newspaper with this recipe for spur-of-the-moment Black Bean Soup made from what she had on hand in her pantry and fridge.
I cherish Kathleen’s cookbooks as well as her online and print food stories, and I know that her love for dedicated all-day culinary endeavors and research doesn’t keep her from appreciating a great quick-fix. My pantry contents lined up beautifully with her recipe, to my delight. Black beans and coconut milk, always on hand!
Kathleen also shares my affection for soup, so I expected great things, and I was not disappointed. Worth making in a pinch, and I now plan to keep black beans and coconut milk on hand with intention, so I can make this again.
I simplified things a little, going for a meatless version and a smaller quantity, since I had but one can of black beans. It’s delicious, beautiful, fast, and satisfying, and ridiculously quick to prepare.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
In addition to black beans and coconut milk, you need cumin, onion, and garlic. I made a simple fresh salsa to brighten things up, using roma tomatoes, lime, jalapeno, cilantro, and onion. For Kathleen’s quick salsa recipe, click HERE. For her two cookbooks and info on her next one coming up, click HERE.
And for my speedy and vegan version black bean soup of with salsa garnish, scroll down to the (printable) recipe below! (and don’t wait for snow — it’s a keeper all year round, not a last resort.)
Here’s a quick look at how to cook black beans if you have dried ones and want to start from scratch. You’ll need about 1 3/4 cups cooked black beans for this recipe if you cook them up instead of using canned ones.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 can (15-ounce) black beans
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 2 teaspoons hot chili sauce such as sriracha sauce, Tabasco, or Texas Pete
- Optional garnishes:
- (If you like, use one or more of these garnishes)
- Fresh Tomato Salsa (See NOTE)
- Finely chopped cilantro
- Freshly-squeezed lime juice
- Sour cream
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onion, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 5 to 10 minutes, until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and and cumin and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Stir in the black beans, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes, stirring now and then.
- Stir in hot sauce and cook, stirring often, to dissolve both into the soup.
- Remove from heat and transfer hot soup to work bowl of a food processor.
- Cover tightly and process until smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides.
- (Or skip all that and leave the beans whole.)
- Taste and adjust seasoning and transfer to serving bowl, or serve into individual soup bowls.
- If using garnishes, add them to the big bowl, or to individual bowls before serving, or pass at the table for people to add as they wish.
- Serve hot.
Simple Tomato Salsa
2 roma tomatoes or plum tomatoes, or 12 cherry or grape tomatoes
2 green onions
3 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 half lime
2 or 3 teaspoons chopped jalapeno or serrano chili pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coarsely chop tomatoes, trimming away stem ends. Place in a medium bowl. Trim and chop green onions and cilantro, stems and all, and add to tomatoes. Squeeze lime juice in, add jalapenos and salt, and stir well.