From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...In the early years of our marriage, certain recipes grabbed and held the attention of new cooks across the country. One of them was the recipe for the black bean soup that was served at the Coach House Restaurant in New York City. While the soup was delicious and easy to make, all of its elements were made from scratch so it was time consuming to prepare. It also made enough soup to feed an emerging nation, and that made it impractical for small families, even if they had large freezers. As more of us returned to work the recipe, at least my copy, was carefully tucked away and became a pleasant memory. Several years ago, I came across a quicker and much simpler version of black bean soup in Fine Cooking magazine. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to give the soup, which is made with canned beans and other common pantry items, a try. The results were serendipitous and the recipe quickly found a place in my regular recipe rotation. I made the soup while we were at the lake last week and as I was putting it together I realized it would make a perfect feature for Frugal Friday. In the realm of all things frugal, there is frugal and there is cheap. This is cheap. The soup requires some chopping, but even with that, it can be on the table in about 30 minutes. Served with a salad and biscuits or cornbread, the soup makes a perfect light supper that I think you will enjoy. Here is how it's made.
Black Bean Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
2 (15-1/2-oz.) cans black beans, including liquid
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup dry sherry, preferably fino
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1) Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy-duty pot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, purée chicken broth with one can of black beans and bean liquid in a blender.
3) Add cumin and oregano to pot with onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in black bean purée and remaining whole beans with their liquid; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer, stirring frequently, until flavors are melded, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry and season to taste with salt and pepper. Yield: 4 servings.
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