There is nothing I love more on a chilly, winter evening than a warm bowl of soup. Would anyone care to argue? Okay okay, some may say cracklings logs in the fireplace, a glass of toasty red wine, or a loyal pup at your feet might beat out the soup thing. But to me, it definitely makes the list of winter comforts.
Last year, my husband and I went to the gorgeous West Indies island of Antigua for our eleven day honeymoon.
We loved everything about our trip and resort, and I did my due diligence of taking mental notes about the delicious cuisine we ate. Surprisingly, despite the 90 degree weather and about a million percent humidity, I found myself ordering soup most nights for my appetizer. One notable in particular was their Black Bean. I have always been a fan of this soup, already, but I never tried my hand at making it before! What was funny, err interesting, rather, was all their soups were served pureed. And while I have a knack for soup making (remind me to get my Greens & Beans recipe up here), I have never made an entirely smooth soup before. But here I was, tasting this rich, mirror-like, creamy concoction, with a multitude of flavors bombarding me in this little bowl of pure (pureed!) goodness! Needless to say, that soup moved to the top of my list of dishes I needed to recreate at home.
As most of you may well know, one of my goals of this blog is to make accessible dishes with simple and practical ingredients. Sometimes, you might not even have to go to the store! Honestly, everything in this soup I keep on hand regularly, my life is made immensely easier. And? It’s inexpensive to make, filling, vegetarian, high yield of servings, and freezes well. You are welcome.
Black Bean Soup
3 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I use Hunt’s Garlic variety)
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup carrots, diced (it was exactly 10 baby carrots)
1 jalapeno (I don’t fully de-seed mine)
1 T minced garlic
1/2 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 T lime juice
*up to 1 cup almond milk to finish
1/4 avocado, diced (for garnish)
1 T greek yogurt (for garnish)
Bring all ingredients, except the almond milk, to a boil in a large pot (mine is 6 quarts I think?), then cover and reduce to a simmer. The objective is to soften everything, the carrots always taking the longest. I periodically stirred and checked the tenderness of the carrots, and after about a half hour they were to my liking. Longer wouldn’t hurt either, you may need to add more stock/liquid.
Then I removed from heat, and grabbed one of my favorite kitchen tools, my immersion blender. If you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and get one. While I use my food processor almost daily, when it comes to pureeing soups, I promise you that transferring in batches to a blender or food processor to puree would be, at the very least, a tragic hassle. No batches, no different pot, just plop the immersion blender right in there and power up! This is where I slowly added in my almond milk, for a touch of creaminess (you could also use heavy cream instead). This recipe has no added salt because to me it just doesn’t need it, the warmth from the spices speak volumes alone. I garnish with some fresh avocado and a dollop of greek yogurt, which cools it and I love a swirl in each bite. Hubby likes to add shredded cheddar on top as well, and by all means, cheese it up – has it ever ruined anything? Ever?
All I can say is, it’s another Shaymeless recipe that is husband approved! Oh, and I would like to go back to Antigua for another bowl, because that’s how good it is. But my kitchen version will have to suffice for now!
*It is spicy and warming, so if you have a sensitivity to spicy food I would recommend omitting the jalapeno and the cayenne. Instead sub in a bell pepper and some onion powder. It really can be adapted in many ways, but this is a simple guideline for you to figure out your own Honeymoon Soup!