Wednesday, June 9, 2010

ghetto black bean soup

black bean soup with cumin crema

I made this a couple of Thursdays ago while I was watching an evening's worth of NBC comedies. I was kind of cranky because I think some plan for the night had fallen through, leaving me with nothing to do and nothing in the house to make for dinner. As I sat there vegging out and gradually growing hungrier and hungrier, I decided it was time to do something with some of those black beans from the food co-op that I had sitting in the pantry. I threw a large handful of them in a pot with some water without much thought, and eventually wound up with the soup pictured above.

This tasted quite tasty considering I was pretty much winging it. I have no idea how long I cooked this for, as I kind of started without realizing what I was doing. I improvised a lot. I didn't have any ham or peppers, like my mother would have used, or any chilies, red onion or lime, like this recipe suggested. However, beans are of themselves pretty rich and hearty, so I guess that the bulk of the flavor is already there, and all the add ins are less essential.

Basically, what happened was that I had the beans boiling away, and I kept adding more water, and then after awhile I added a cup or two of my homemade stock. Then I sauteed up some yellow onion with salt and pepper and a healthy sprinkling of cumin, and tossed that in the pot as well. I cooked this all on a really high boil because I was hungry and didn't want to wait a million years for dinner. In lieu of the ham, I diced a slice and a half of bacon, (a terrible brand to boot), and threw it in the frying pan. Once it had crisped up I added it into the soup with the pan drippings. I checked the beans every once in a while, and when I decided they were soft enough/I was too hungry to wait any longer, I went to town with the immersion blender. If you cook this the proper amount of time, blenders are unnecessary, but I was already taking a lot of liberties with the dish, so I decided to expedite my dinner.

The one ingredient I strangely did have was cumin seeds, which I toasted in a frying pan, ground up as best I could with my muddler, and mixed into some sour cream. This "crema" is a Bobby Flay recipe, and it probably would have been delicious had my sour cream not somehow frozen in the back of the fridge. In case you were wondering, it does not defrost well. At all. However, you could tell this was good.

All in all, the soup came out way better than I could have reasonably expected. I would have topped it with a little fresh cilantro, but I didn't have any. I needed something green for the photograph though... Spinach. I tore up some spinach. Like I said, ghetto black bean soup. Good, but ghetto. Will definitely have to try making this again properly, because it's one of my favorite soups, and mom has a GREAT recipe for it.


  1. O yum! What a great soup!

  2. thank you! good to know someone out there is reading!