The Recipes

Black Bean (Happy Hour) Soup

I went out for drinks after work tonight with the usual intention of heading home to cook dinner.  When I got home and consulted my white board where I jot down what I'm planning on making throughout the week, nothing sounded good.  I texted my friend that I had just left: "Boo.  We should have done dinner.  Nothing sounds good to cook."

Well, that was probably because I'd had two glasses of wine on an empty stomach, so I grumbled for five more minutes, then got to cooking.  Once I was done, I was pretty darn happy with myself.  This soup is hearty and turned out so well.  Make it the next time you're feeling lazy and not-at-all creative.  Note: You can garnish this any way you like.  Avocado would be a good choice, as well as pico de gallo or cheese.

Black Bean Soup


-1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/4 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 T. cumin
- 1/2 T. of Mexican oregano
- 1 serrano chile pepper, roughly chopped (remove the seeds for less heat)
- 1 14.5-oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 c. vegetable or chicken stock
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil
 -1/2 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 T. of Greek yogurt (or sour cream or creme fraiche) for garnish
- small handful of cilantro, chopped for garnish
- 2 cherry tomatoes, quartered for garnish

Add the onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic to a food processor.  Puree until smooth; almost the consistency of apple sauce.  In a large pot, heat 1 T. of olive oil.  Add the vegetable mixture, called a sofrito, to the pot.  Season with salt and let it cook for 10 minutes.  While it is cooking, rinse out the food processor and add the beans and serrano chile to the bowl of the processor.  Pulse a few times, until the beans are chopped but not pureed and the chile is spread throughout.

After ten minutes, add the cumin and oregano to the pot.  Stir to combine and cook two more minutes.  Add in the bean-chile mixture to the pot.  Stir and add in the stock.  Season again with salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Taste and season again if needed.

Chop the cilantro and mix the yogurt, cilantro, and lime zest together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle the soup into a bowl and finish with the lime juice.  Put a spoonful of the cilantro cream in the middle, surrounded by the tomatoes.