Last year for Christmas I asked for a few small kitchen appliances, and my family listened. I was gifted glass canisters, a hand blender with attachments, a dual ice cream maker and new drinking glasses. Now that may not seem exciting to some but to those of us (which I suspect is anyone reading this blog) who love kitchen organization and efficiency, it's music to our ears.
Along with the appliances came the pamphlet of instructions and recipes. Generally, I am one to assemble and use right away, and I use the pamphlet for a reference guide in case something goes wrong. However, for this go round of kitchen gadget giddy, I decided to thoroughly read through the pamphlet, and I’m glad I did. The hand blender has a recipe for black bean soup that actually made my mouth water, so I thought it was worth a try.
Black Bean Soup
Recipe Courtesy of the Cuisinart Hand Blender Instruction and Recipe Booklet
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 Tablespoons kosher salt, divided
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, not drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Crème Fraiche or whole milk yogurt for serving
1. Put garlic, onion and jalapeño into the chopping cup. Pulse to finely chop. Remove and reserve. Put in bell pepper in the chopping cup and pulse to finely chop; reserve with the other vegetables.
The size of the chopping cup did not hold the whole vegetables so I still had to do a rough cut so they would fit in the cup.
2. Put oil in a stockpot set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped vegetables and sauté until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Even using the chopping cup, I noticed that not all of the cuts were perfectly uniform. There are about three big chunks of red peppers in the mix.
3. Add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt bay leaf and cumin. Cook while stirring until nicely fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the beans (with the liquid from the cans) and the broth. Simmer partially covered until all ingredients are tender and the flavors have melded, about 20-25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
5. Remove soup from heat. Using the blending shaft, blend on low for about 20 seconds and then gradually increase to high and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute in total. Add remaining salt and vinegar; blend an additional 10 to 15 seconds to incorporate.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
7. Serve, topping with a dollop of crème fraiche, a pinch of the chopped cilantro and tortilla chips.
My first time making a recipe I generally follow the recipe exactly as it is, however being surrounded by the chefs at The Chopping Block, I know that a recipe is just a guide so I used this one as just that. I modified the garnishes just a bit. I found the tortilla chips (I omitted the cilantro because it tastes like soap to me) and sour cream to be a simple garnish but to kick it up a notch, I tried 3 different garnishes:
- Shredded chicken with salsa, sour cream and cheese
- Shrimp and avocados – seasoned and sautéed in grapeseed oil and taco seasoning
- Bacon and bacon fat – from oven-cooked bacon
All the garnishes were quite tasty, but I have to say my favorite was the shredded chicken because it was hearty and creamy. Garnishes are an easy way to get creative with a recipe without taking a lot of risk!
If you think this recipe (or any of the variations) sounds great but all the chopping involved will tire you out, try our Knife Skills class. We’ll teach you proper cutting techniques that will help you make quick uniform cuts. The benefit to the Knife Skills class is you will leave with your vegetables already to use. Here are some upcoming sessions:
If your knife skills are on par and you want to learn more great soup recipes, try our Winter Soups and Stews. This class will leave you with a full belly and even more recipes to add to your collection – with or without kitchen gadgets. Here's the mouthwatering menu:
- Beef Paprikash with Egg Noodles
- Braised Chicken, Green Chile and Hominy Stew
- French Onion Soup with Toasted Gruyere Cheese Crouton
- Seafood Gumbo with Crab and Crawfish