I know some have soup for dinner all year, but I’m not a fan. Soup, stews and similar things belong in the Winter. And maybe in Autumn.
I’m not sure what got into me when I put Black Bean and Beer Soup on the menu this week. Summer officially starts in just over TWO weeks! I had hundreds of dinner choices and I picked – of my own free will – a soup for dinner.
But, this is what happened: We planned our Memorial Day weekend and I knew my husband was going to buy some beer. I knew that one of the meals I made this week for dinner would be a bean-based dinner. Black beans sounded good. I searched “black beans” in my trusty How To Cook Everything iPhone app and immediately the Black Bean and Beer Soup caught my eye.
Hubby’s beer + black beans = Black Bean and Beer Soup.
I put it on the menu and our dinner fate was sealed.
The soup was mild and pleasant. I’ve made a previous Black Bean Soup that was much spicier and more robust. I personally like the robust flavors in the other one, but I think this one appealed to the kids more. As for the beer, I liked the flavor it gave, even though I am not a beer drinker at all. My husband said that he would have liked more beer in it (calm down, honey…you can drink a beer while eating your soup).
Here is my variation of the original:
Black Bean and Beer Soup
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything app
1 pound dried black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth (can use other broths/stocks)
12 oz bottle or can beer (use your favorite)
Salt & pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro
1. The night before you want to serve your soup, rinse and pick through black beans to remove any rocks or debris. Place in a large bowl, fill the bowl with water so that the beans are covered well. Soak the beans overnight.
2. The next day, drain the soaking water. Rinse beans with water. Place the beans into a large pot. Add water to pot and fill until water level is about 2 inches above the beans. Bring the beans to a boil; then reduce to a low simmer. Cook about 2 hours, or until beans are soft and fully cooked. Keep a watch on your water – if water level is too low you’ll want to add more water to the pot.
3. When beans are fully cooked, drain cooking liquid and return beans to the large pot.
NOTE: This is my process from dry beans. If you prefer to use canned black beans, you would need approximately 3 – 4 cans (15 ounces or so each can), drained and rinsed, to equal the 1 lb dry that I used.
4. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cumin and continue cooking, stirring often, for another minute.
5. Add onion mixture to the beans in the large pot. Add chicken broth, beer, and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Heat on medium-high and bring to a boil; then lower heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow soup to cool slightly.
6. Puree approximately 1/2 – 3/4 of the soup in small batches in a blender (can use an immersion blender right in the pot, if you prefer). To puree the mixture, have a new, clean bowl handy next to your blender. Using a measuring cup or ladle, scoop the soup into the blender, taking great care to not fill the blender over 1/2 full. Cover the blender with its lid and then cover the top of the lid with a folded dishtowel. Place your hand on top of the dishtowel and apply gentle pressure to the top of the lid to keep it closed during pulsing. Then, in short on/off bursts, pulse the soup. When fully blended, pour into the clean bowl and continue these steps with more of the soup. When your desired amount of soup has been blended, carefully pour the blended batches back into the large pot with the unblended beans.
7. Add the lime juice; stir to combine. Add salt and pepper as desired by taste. Serve in bowl with optional toppings.
GIVEAWAY IS OVER – WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON!
To enter for a chance of winning the How To Cook Everything app leave a comment on this post telling me if you have any food or cooking related apps already and if so, what’s one of your favorites.
NOTE: Contest is open to US residents only. Contest will run May 31, 2010 through Sunday, June 6 at 11:59 PM PST. Please make sure I will have a way of contacting you with your comment. Winner will be selected by random.org. Winners will be announced on Monday, June 7.
For even more chances to win, watch the rest of this week for more of my “Mark Bittman Week” posts. For another chance right now, be sure to leave a comment on these posts by Sunday, June 6, 2010:
Menu Plan for Week of May 31
Grilled Spicy Shrimp
Real Beef Stroganoff
Thanks to Culinate, Inc. for providing the apps for this giveaway.