Tuesday, February 03, 2004

So, after the lentil soup disaster, where I ignored my gut feeling and went straight with the recipe, I decided yesterday to give a shot at doing a dish with all gut reaction and no recipe.

Genevieve had been telling me these past weeks about perhaps making a black bean soup to take for lunches, since that's what she gets at Panera bread all the time. And I've had Panera's food, I was pretty sure I could best that.

The end result:
Creamy black bean soup with roasted corn and chipotles

And, not to be full of myself, but it turned out damn good. Sweet and smoky, with a hint of fire (although Genevieve claims it's "burn the mouth" spicy, I found it to be around medium heat) and some tex-mex flavors going on. For myself to remember, just as much as anyone who might be interested, here's the recipe:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed or diced
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2" Mexican cinnamon (stick)
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups of vegetable stock
3/4 cup of dried black beans
1 large ear or 1 1/2 small ears of corn
2 tbsp milk or cream
1/2 canned chipotle pepper (more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the oil on medium-high. Add the garlic and onion and cook until soft and lightly golden brown.

Add the cumin, bay leaf, coriander, chili powder, cinnamon, salt, vegetable stock & black beans. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour and a half, or until beans are very soft, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to keep beans covered.

While the soup is simmering, roast the corn. I did this in the broiler of my oven, coated lightly with canola oil. But, a nice open flame or grill would work just as well, if not better. Roast until it is equally brown on all sides. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, remove the kernels. Place half of the corn in a blender with the milk and blend until it forms a creamy consistency. Combine with the whole kernels and set aside.

When the beans are soft, remove half of them, along with their liquid, and place in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Add blended beans back to the soup pot. Add the chipotle pepper and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat. Remove the bay leaf & cinnamon. Add the corn mixture and stir till combined. Heat on low until warmed through.

Serve. Top with a dollop of sour cream (optional)