Sunday, February 8, 2009

Savory Sundays: Black bean soup

Third and final recipe for the day. I got this one from an episode of Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network. Not sure why but when I saw it, I immediately put it on my must-make-as-soon-as-possible list. The flavors speak to me - cilantro, onion, garlic, peppers, cumin - but some don't - black beans, ham hock. Still, I had to try it, so I did. The recipe is Black Bean Soup and you can find it here.

Here are the ingredients:

1 pound dried black beans
4 cloves garlic
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh oregano
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 smoked ham hock
1 jalapeno, split
1 3/4 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

And the lineup:

A couple of things... 1) it calls for green bell peppers but I've pretty much stopped using green bells. I never cared for the flavor and I figured that a poblano pepper is similar to a green bell - green, not a lot of heat, relatively thick - so I swap out a green bell in favor of a poblano every time I come across the former. 2) the recipe doesn't list bay leaves in the ingredients but you need to use bay leaves; it even says so in the instructions, confusing I know; 3) soak the beans overnight otherwise they won't cook right, I read that on the recipe suggestions as well.

When you are ready to start the recipe, roughly chop the onions and poblano (or green bell) and toss them with the garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Blend until smooth:

Then, take a good amount of olive oil (the recipe says a 3-count, I figure that's about 3 tablespoons give or take) and when it's hot, toss in the cumin and oregano. I used ground Mexican oregano because that's what I had. Then, put the vegetable puree into the pot:

Now here comes the fun part. After the vegetable puree has had a chance to sit in the pot for about 10 minutes, add the chicken broth and the jalapeno as well as the ham hock. I dont't know why but the concept of cooking with a ham hock really appealed to me. I just thought it was cool that you could just throw that in something and get the flavor to come out of it and into the soup.

Unfortunately, the ham hock rendered some very chewy meat. I'm kind of a texture person so I didn't do what you were supposed to, which is cut the meat off the bone and toss it back into the soup. I left it out and am taking it over to my parents because I know them and I know they will destroy it.

Still, the soup came out quite tasty. I didn't take a picture of it but it also calls for a cup of sour cream mixed with a teaspoon of lime zest. I put that into my soup (and I normally don't like sour cream) but it was quite tasty. I also put in cilantro as well as lime into the soup. I liked it a lot. My wife didn't care for it but that's fine - more for me. I froze about three heaping bowlfuls of it so I'll have plenty to last me for a while.

No comments: