While I have a black bean soup in my blog archives from long ago (with ugly picture to prove it), I’ve never posted a black bean soup using dried beans.  When I received a pound of black beans with my Whole Foods Market Pantry Staples challenge (my giveaway has ended but it’s not too late to enter their sweepstakes!) I knew it was time to make a soup again I’ve made once before, but hadn’t blogged.

It’s pretty lame that I don’t cook with dried beans very often.  I like the fact that there’s less waste in the packaging than canned beans, for one thing.  And I also like that they don’t have the added sodium.  With the help of a slow-cooker, the dried beans in this recipe can cook without having to pre-soak, rinse, or require watching.  This is a soup I can prep pretty quickly, and then just forget about it.  It also gave me a chance to use my new immersion blender again!  I prefer more blended beans than the original recipe calls for, so I’ve adapted the recipe below to my preferences.  I like that this black bean soup has a completely different method of prep & cooking, and also a different flavor than the other soup in my blog.  This one uses canned chipotle peppers for added depth of smokiness & heat.  While I’m sure the Toasted Crema Deb of Smitten Kitchen included in her post is fabulous, I’ve admittedly never made it.  I just dollop mine with a touch of sour cream, and sometimes add in sliced avocado if I’ve got it on hand.  It’s great on a cold winter day!

I’m submitting this post to Branny Boils Over’s Souper Bowl.  I had the pleasure of meeting Branny at BlogHerFood ’11 in Atlanta, and she’s just as nice, sweet, and funny in person as she is on her blog and twitter.  One thing about Branny is, she LOVES animals.  Her Souper Bowl is all about raising money for her favorite charity ASPCA.  I’m dedicating this post to my fur child, Jesse.  He’s only been in our lives a little over a year, but we can’t remember what we did without him.  Yes, I had a little more time in the mornings, and I didn’t lay on the floor to get a tennis ball out from under the bed or couch 3x a day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love to see his face light up & him leap into the air when we say the magic words “wanna go for a ride” or even better “wanna go to the park”.  I may find it a bit annoying when I’m trying to type a blog post, and he keeps putting his toy on my keyboard so he can fetch, but he makes up for it when he snuggles up next to me (as he is right now).  And best of all, on those late nights when I arrive home from work the same time Nathan is leaving for work, around 2 am, I invite him onto the bed so I still have someone to snuggle with.

Just like the black bean soup, my dark doggy is hard to photograph!  And please ignore the dirty window.  I can wash the window, and it looks like that again in >24 hours.  Homeboy takes his self-appointed role of neighborhood watch VERY seriously.

It’s not too late to join her Souper Bowl, you have until Jan 31st.  Head over to her blog for more info.


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Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Yield: 6 servings

The instructions on the cooking of the beans has varying times. Deb's were done in 2 hours 45 minutes, mine were done in more like 4 hours. The original recipe called for 6 hours. I suggest checking yours after 3 hours, but plan for more cooking time if necessary.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles from a can (use less if you prefer less heat)
7 cups hot water (tap water is fine)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional toppings:
sour cream
greek yogurt
crema or creme fraiche
avocado

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir one minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours, but longer if necessary. [See note up top.]

Transfer four cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve with desired toppings.

Per serving: calories, 314; total fat, 4 g; saturated fat, 1 g; cholesterol, 1 mg; fiber, 18 g

from Bon Appetit as seen on Smitten Kitchen.