Can I tell you something?
I hate doing dishes. It’s my least favorite chore. I will dust, vacuum and clean bathrooms until my heart’s content before I ever opt to scrub a dirty dish. In fact, even the dishwasher is a struggle for me. Loading dishes in, and then putting them back up- let’s be honest, who wants to waste valuable time laboring over that? Not me.
That’s why I love cooking one-dish dinners. Less hassle when you’re cooking, and cleanup is usually a breeze.
So, when I stumbled across Paula’s recipe for Black Bean Soup in one of her magazines, it looked like the perfect candidate for my simple kitchen. You just throw everything in a big pot! What could be better? It’s also the perfect dish for fall; the red pepper gives it just enough heat to warm you up. You can even make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon, and subbing the chicken broth for either water or vegetable broth.
The original recipe serves four, but I decided to take it one step further. I cut the recipe in half, because I didn’t want to eat off of it for the rest of the week with tons of leftovers, and what I ended up with was two servings (or one really hearty serving, depending on the eater).
Here’s the reduced recipe, and my notes:
Black Bean Soup
Makes 2 servings
2 slices of bacon, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
¾ cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
Pinch of red pepper, or more to taste
Pinch of salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Garnish: sour cream, shredded cheese, and fresh cilantro (if desired)
1. In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add onion and garlic to bacon and drippings in pan; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is tender.
2. Add beans, chicken broth tomato paste, ground red pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. In the container of a blender, place half of soup. Remove center piece of blender lid to all steam to escape; secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid to avoid spills. Process until smooth. Stir puree into reserved soup. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Garnish and serve.
My notes: I found that I had to keep adding chicken broth to the soup to keep the consistency I wanted. Altogether, I probably used closer to what the original recipe called for, or about 1 ½ cups of broth.
Also, I know I claim that this is a one-dish recipe, but then the directions call for half of the soup to be blended. However, you could totally get away without blending half of your soup. I opted to try it out, but honestly, I think I almost would have preferred not doing so. It’s just a matter of taste.
Final note, I don’t care for cilantro, so I just omitted it. The garnish that you see in the photo is actually parsley.
As you can see, you can really make this soup to your own tastes.