Tuesday, March 3

Black Bean Soup with Cumin Crema

A filling vegetarian soup with a rich and smokey flavor

Black Bean Soup with Cumin Crema

I went from avoiding beans my whole life to loving them just a couple years ago. For me, it's all about the texture and I still won't eat them if I think they'll be mushy or slimy in any way. Not surprisingly, I'd never eaten black bean soup until this weekend when I made this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen, and it was so good! The slow-cooked beans have a real depth of flavor and the soup gets a smokey and spicy kick from the chipotles and cumin. It tastes like a vegetarian chili, but with half the ingredients and steps that you'd find in a traditional chili recipe. The cumin seed crema adds richness and the contrasting black and white swirls makes a simple pot of soup look really impressive. I served wedges of caramelized onion and chorizo quesadillas on the side for a twist on grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Related Recipes:
- Slow-Cooked Black Beans
- Curried Split Pea Soup
- White Chicken Chili

Black Bean Soup with Cumin Crema:
- 7 c. hot water
- 1 lb. dried black beans
- 1 c. creme fraiche, Mexican crema, or sour cream
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 2 red onions, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
- kosher salt

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
  • Add in the peppers and onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to brown.
  • Add in the garlic and ground cumin and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the beans and water, bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and lower to a simmer.
  • Cook for 3-5 hours on low,* or until the beans are very tender.
  • Transfer 3-4 c. of soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, then stir the puree back into the soup.
  • Add the lime juice, chipotle, and 3/4 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Meanwhile, toast the cumin seeds in a hot dry skillet for a few minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and pound until crushed but still coarse.
  • Stir the cumin seeds and a pinch of salt into the creme fraiche.**
  • To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and swirl in a dollop of the cumin crema.

Serves six
*Black beans can vary in cooking time and the heat of your simmer.
**The crema can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge in a sealed container.