March 3, 2009

Slow Cooked Black Bean Soup

I love beans... white, black, black eyed, pinto, kidney, butter, pigeon, in fact I have yet to meet a bean that doesn't tickle my fancy. I love that black beans (also known as turtle beans), as well as most other beans are not only tasty, but are virtually a fat-free high quality protein, and a great source of cholesterol lowering fiber.

As I was cleaning out my cupboards, I found some dried black beans begging for an overnight bath and cooked up into a pot of nurturing satisfaction . On this cold winters day, I thought what better way to warm up the soul than with some black bean soup cooked in my slow cooker. With a little planning ahead of time, your slow cooker does all the work and you save time later. Come on...let's face it, do you know anyone who would oppose to opening the front door and greeted by the inviting smells wafting from the slow cooker? Yeah...I don't either!

You can kick up the heat a bit by adding a serrano chile or a milder pepper such as jalapeno in place of the green chilies. If you desire a creamy soup, at end of cooking, puree using an immersion blender or food processor.
This soup is certain to warm you up anytime of the year.

Wine Pairing: An American Chardonnay or a White Meritage would be a nice compliment.

Slow Cooked Black Bean Soup
Serves 6
1 pound dried black beans
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 can low-sodium beef broth
3 small onions
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 bay leaves
1 can (4.5 ounce) chopped green chilies
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
3 tbsp sour cream (optional)

Sort and wash beans and place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans. Cover and let stand for 8 hours or overnight. Drain.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil till soft and translucent. Add sauteed onions and garlic to crock pot with beans, broth, cumin, coriander, bay leaves and green chilies. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours. Add salt and vinegar during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Discard bay leaves and stir in lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle each with chopped cilantro and top with a tbsp of sour cream.
You now have a hearty, satisfying and fiber rich meal!