Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Roasted Vegetables

There's something so beautiful about vegetables - all the colors, the shapes, and the unique scents and flavors of each.  I love drawing out those flavors and filling the house with their aroma by drizzling them with a little olive oil, adding a sprinkling of salt, and roasting them in the oven until they're nicely charred and oh-so-flavorful.

I plan to cook many soups this fall, and our freezer is already filling up with leftovers - something that brings me comfort - so on a chilly night this winter when it's too cold and snowy to go get groceries, or I'm too tired to make dinner, I know I have a backup plan in my freezer.  I've cooked a lot this week, more than two people can eat, so many things are heading to the freezer for future dinners, including half a lasagna from the other night.  Another great leftovers meal.

This black bean soup is full of flavor, vibrant color and nutrients.  Although I didn't add any meat to it, some ground turkey or sausage would be a nice addition.  I will warn you...  mine came out pretty spicy (I added the seeds from the jalapenos) so be careful with those.  If you're not sure you can handle the spiciness, leave them out, and just add a little heat with some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.  I enjoyed the heat, though, and the flavors of all the roasted peppers, onion, corn and tomatoes came together beautifully.

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Roasted Vegetables
  • 1 ear of corn, husked
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • 3 bell peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • red wine vinegar (optional - used to cut the heat of the jalapenos)
  • grated cheese for garnish

Line two baking sheets with foil and turn the broil in your oven on low.  Place one of the oven racks in the middle of the oven, so that it's not directly under the broiler.

Place all of the vegetables on the baking sheets.  Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Broil for 15-20 minutes.  Turn the veggies over and broil for another 15-20 minutes.  They should be very soft, somewhat charred, and the skin on the peppers should be blistered.  Set aside to cool for a few minutes until they are cool enough to handle.

Slice the corn off the cob.  Cut the tomatoes and onion into bite sized pieces.  Peel the skin off the poblano and dice it into bite sized pieces, including the seeds (they're not very hot).  Peel the skin off the jalapenos and dice them up, avoiding the seeds (unless you're very daring!).  If desired, you can also peel the skin off the bell peppers, but you don't have to since it's much softer than the skin of the poblano.  Cut the bell peppers into bite-sized pieces.  Slide the skin off the garlic and mince the garlic.  Place all the vegetables in a large stock pot.

Add the beans, chicken broth, water, cumin and thyme.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to low.  Taste, and add salt if needed.  Add red wine vinegar as needed, if the broth is too spicy.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serve, topped with grated cheese.  Tortilla chips or crusty bread are great on the side, too.

Yields - a big pot of soup!