It's hard to make black soup look good (especially when you're really hungry and don't feel like messing with it).
So. I realize I post about beans a lot. But let's be honest: what's not to love? Creamy, low-fat, low-cal, high-fiber...and flavorful, too. They're healthy and versatile, and they're oh-so convenient from a can. (Though we all know I prefer them from Rancho Gordo.)
I know it's been, like, a million degrees outside and soup seems like the last thing you'd want to be eating. But sometimes a soup can be so light and delicious, it doesn't feel like a winter meal at all. One night last week I set out to make another clean-out-the-pantry dinner to save money. I had a can of black beans, some leftover chicken stock, a getting-wrinkly jalapeno, and a fresh tomato, so I decided soup was in order. I just randomly tossed everything together and played around until it was right.
Success! It was so yummy I decided to make it again this week and write everything down so I could share it here. I hope you'll try it—if you want an easy and quick (and cheap!) weeknight meal, this is it.
Simple Black-Bean Soup
serves 2 as a meal
This soup is a perfect canvas for your kitchen creativity. I imagine the following would add more layers of flavor: roasted red peppers, a dash of cumin or chili powder, corn, and/or a garnish of crushed tortilla chips. This was enough for the 2 of us to have for dinner, with a little bit left over—a perfect lunch portion to pair with a salad or sandwich.
2 to 3 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 big or 3 medium cloves garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups chicken stock, divided
1 can black beans
1 medium fresh tomato, cored and diced
2 green onions, white and light green parts, sliced
Garnish: chopped cilantro
Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and stir to coat onion in oil. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and starting to brown slightly around the edges. Add the jalapeno. With a microplane (zester), grate the garlic into the pot. Stir well to distribute the garlic.
Add 1 1/4 cups of the stock, and whisk to loosen any bits of caramelized onion from the bottom of the pan. Add the can of beans, including the liquid; add 1/4 cup stock to the can, swirl it around, then add to the pot. Increase heat to high, and boil soup for 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low.
Use a potato masher to mash the beans in the soup so about half of the beans are mashed and the soup is creamy. If the soup seems too thick, add remaining broth, a bit at a time, until you like the consistency. Stir in diced tomato and green onion; garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.