yesterday kicked off in the low forties, which at chez owens results in knee socks, grey hoodies, and soup for dinner.
la soupe du jour was a tasty classic: black bean. we paired savory bowls with creole corn muffins, which proved so winning a combo i'd be remiss not to share the love here.
Black Bean Soup
1 lb black beans
1½ lbs slab bacon or ham hocks
8 cups water
2 t celery salt
About 2 cups chicken or beef broth
1½ T olive oil
1½ cups finely chopped bell peppers (seeded and cored)
1½ cups chopped onions
1½ T finely minced garlic
1 t ground cumin
1 can (19 oz) tomatoes, peeled, diced, with juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Place beans, bacon/ham, water and celery salt in heavy kettle. Bring to boil; cover and simmer about 2½ hours or until beans are thoroughly tender. Remove meat; set aside. Drain beans and reserve along with meat and cooking liquid. Add enough broth to make 6 cups of liquid. Combine the beans with liquid in large bowl.
Heat oil in kettle; add peppers, onions, and garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring, until onions are wilted. Add tomatoes and vinegar. Let simmer about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and discard skin/bones from bacon/ham hock. Chop bacon/ham; set aside. Add bean mixture to cooked tomato mixture. Add chopped meat, simmer until thoroughly heated. Serve in soup bowls.
Yield 8-10 servings.
now i must mention that if you are going to make this soup like i do, you need to not measure much of anything, use twice the amount of tomatoes (some of them fresh), skip the cumin because it doesn’t live on your shelf, and substitute garlic salt for celery salt, western ribs for ham hocks, and cider vinegar for wine vinegar.
also? i did not pre-soak my beans because:
a. the recipe didn’t say i had to
b. it sounded like something i’d rather not do
they turned out perfectly tender, though i cannot vouch that your beans will behave likewise.
i also left the beans&co in the kettle, sauteed the veggies&vinegar in a separate pan, and then added the veggies to the bean kettle because the recipe's way sounded a lot like i might spill something.
adding to the deliciousness were these little rubies:
with tomatoes this good, who needs chocolate? and i say that with about ninety-percent earnestness, so those were Some Tomatoes. speaking of percentages, i was five-thousand-percent convinced that if i snuck the tomatoes into the soup (well, as much as one can sneak engine-red-fruit into a brown soup), i’d win the rest of my family over to my 'mato-loving ways.
‘tis not the first time i’ve been five thousand percent certain and also wrong.
but on to the muffins:
Creole Corn Muffins
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups milk
¾ cup vegetable shortening, melted
2 T bell pepper, chopped
2 T onion, chopped
2 T pimiento, chopped
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 t salt
4½ T (heaping) yellow cornmeal
2 T baking powder
4 T sugar
Mix eggs, milk and shortening. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined (batter will be lumpy). Pour into greased muffin cups and bake in preheated 400°F. oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until done.
my muffin tips:
-most of the measurements can be eyeballed
-these muffins are especially delectable if you substitute red chili peppers for the pimientos.
happy souping, my friends.