Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bumblebee Soup - A Hearty Bacon, Black Bean and Corn Chowder

No actual bees were harmed in the making of this delicious soup. Whenever I do a recipe that's going to have a long name, like Bacon, Black Bean and Corn Chowder, I try to come up with some short name that will fit in the video's subtitle frame. This time the yellow and black highlights inspired the bumblebee moniker.

One great thing about this chowder is the thick, rich texture isn't dependent on any blender action. I always cringe when I read a recipe that has the reader pour the soup into a blender and "blend until smooth." All I see is scalding hot liquid flying out the top of the blender at 500 RPM (been there, felt that).

As you'll see, this soup is thickened with a safe, simple, and gentle mashing in the pot, with a potato masher. The other great thing with this bumblebee soup is that it tastes like it was cooked for hours, but is actually relatively quick - perfect if you're busy as a, well, you know. So, make this for your honey, and enjoy!


4 strips bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
2 (15-oz) cans black beans
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

43 comments:

Jessie said...

Thank you Chef John, this one looks delicious!

Jeff said...

you seem to love bacon.

Chef John said...

i will not dignify that with a response.

Mr. Morkel said...

Cool name for a soup! I'm definitely gonna try that one day

D.W. said...

I know this soup will be delicious because your other Split Pea Soup just became my all-time favorite soup! Already made it four times... Could you try and make some clam chowder, Chef John?

Greg said...

C'mon admit it. You named this in honor of The Bumblebee Guy on the Simpsons.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, Chef: is there a number to the range of dishes you can make? Do you have an idea of how many recipes you'll ultimately post and create? I do like watching your cooking videos and just thought I'd ask. Looking at the archives is like leafing through a really great cookbook.

Chef John said...

No es verdad

Chef John said...

"A number to the range of dishes you can make?"

No, it's infinite. There are a million recipes just for soup.

"Do you have an idea of how many recipes you'll ultimately post and create?"

I estimate 1,263 more before I die.

"I do like watching your cooking videos?"

I do like watching them... sometimes I have to watch a couple times to get all the jokes.

listress said...

"..so make this for your honey..." no pun intended? :P

Thanks for a wonderful blog + recipes.

CharGeorge said...

Black beans + corn + smoked something is one of my favorite flavor combinations. If you upped the spice, added some chilis,chile powder, and tomatoes you'd probably have a great chili too!

dan said...

Can you use an immersion blender instead of a potato masher?

Chef John said...

you can, but it will puree some of the corn and onions which will change the color, but if that's not a prob. go for it. or mash some beans before you add.

mucosal said...

Thanks, chef. I made this with beef stock, which is what I had on hand, & really enjoyed the smoky- sweet counter point. A nice, quick soup with no-hassle ingredients.

Alex said...

omg, I love soups. Have to make this one right tomorrow. More drive on the soup-culture front please, mister chef! :)

alex said...

I did it! And 3 things I haven't thought of:

* corn wasn't frozen -> not "crispy" anymore when the soup was finished (and probably released more starch?).
* meshed half of the beans before adding them to the soup -> I think i did it a bit too good, so the soup got very thick.
* no Mexican oregano -> don't know how it tastes.

Anyway, the soup was simple delicious.
Had to restart twice because the bacon disappeared mysteriously every time before I could continue prepping the recipe.

Greets from Berlin

Chef John said...

wow, magic bacon!

Anonymous said...

This was lunch today. I was forced to use 6 slices of bacon because they were frozen together & hey what would I do with only two leftover pieces of bacon anyway.
I also had to sub canned kidney beans (too lazy for a trip to the market) and Greek oregano. Kidney beans were too firm (no surprise) but soup was great anyway. The cable guys came after we finished the soup & they said something smelled wonderful.
Luisa Vacaville

Rosko said...

Chef, this recipe worked will sans bacon and with veggie broth. NO! I'm not a vegan, but I'm Orthodox Christian and we fast from time so it's good to have vegan recipes on hand. Thank you very much.

Foodista Fan said...

Chef thank you so much for sharing this...I just tried it out tonight and they loved it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Chef, my wife and daughter loved it. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!! I said i was gonna make it.. and i did! i was watering just smelling it ^_^ delishmus!!! (that by the way... isn't a word XD)

My food wish?... A chocolate Tort!!! **drool**

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!! I said i was gonna make it.. and i did! i was watering just smelling it ^_^ delishmus!!! (that by the way... isn't a word XD)

My food wish?... A chocolate Tort!!! **drool**

Mel Lingerman said...

The video no longer exists.

Chef John said...

does too!

christy said...

this looks greaaaaaaat!

Kyle Young said...

John-

Is there any possibility that the making of this soup might actually anger bees?

This is a true story.

Last Sunday night, my wife made your bumblebee soup for the first time (I personally had made it for her a couple times before). It was delicious. I ate two big bowls.

Yesterday, the very next morning in fact, I was stung by a bee without provocation. He got me on the top of my foot whilst I sat in the park.

Could this possibly have been some sort of retribution?

My ankle is swollen, and the pain in my ankle joint is only now subsiding.

Why, Chef John? Why?

By the way, I will continue to make and enjoy your soup.

-Kyle

Chef John said...

lol, thanks!

Jette said...

Really wonderful recipe. Thank you for sharing!

Seth Lamb said...

This soup was great! I've been wanting to make one of your recipes for a while, so I finally chose this one because it looked delicious and easy, and it was just that. I think I'll double it next time though, cause it made about 4 good servings, and I'd like to have leftovers to eat for a couple days. Thanks for the hard work!

Steven said...

Chef John,
I made this delicious soup for lunch today -- pairing it with some BLTs, since, come on, who doesn't love a BLT? When I came back to my kitchen to deal with the leftovers, I found that the soup had thickened up significantly in the meantime, almost to the point of becoming the thickness of a dip.
So I decided to take the thick leftovers, stuff them in a pepper with some boneless pork ribs, and then -- kinda, sorta -- follow the technique for your stuffed peppers.
These peppers were definitely delicious, and a nice change of pace from using ground beef. I would say that the ground beef peppers were a little bit heartier, but that's a small complaint.
Thanks again!

Jack Parker said...

We've been having a week or so of unusually chilly weather here in Minneapolis again. Or, as I like to call it - free air-conditioning! It's was the perfect opportunity to try a new soup recipe before it gets too hot to want to.

How can you NOT make a recipe called Bumblebee Soup? I loved it. The gang at worked loved it. I didn't have any frozen or canned corn but I did have fresh corn on the cob so I used that. I also used six strips of thick-cut hardwood smoked bacon because, well, bacon makes everything better! More bacon = more better!

Seriously, this was delicious and a definite keeper. Will it be in the new cookbook? And, when does it finally come out? Of course I'm impatient... I'm hungry!

Paul D said...

Hi Chef John,

"The other great thing with this bumblebee soup is that it tastes like it was cooked for hours, but is actually relatively quick" - Chef John


I have a very basic culinary question, but it is one of those things which has come to confuse me these days, since tomato sauce no longer needs to be cooked for 3 weeks to taste great, so here we go:

When making soup, does cooking the soup for a long time really matter? I understand that to tenderize meat it needs to cook for longer, but with non-meat soups, does it really make a difference?

In advance, thank you for taking the time to answer this question...I love the internet sometimes.

Chef John said...

Sorry, no way to answer that. Every soup is different but usually when everything is tender it's done.

Jesse from Detroit said...

Totally making this for dinner tonight... YAY! I wanna eat bumblebees!

Big Jim said...

If even after mashing it wasn't as thick as you would like it to be. Could you mix some cornstarch with a bit of the cooking liquid and then pour it back in?

tons of flavor said...

Chef John, you make it so easy to follow and everything looks so good.Best site ever!!

Holly J said...

Chef, I have been using your site for almost a year now and it just gets better and better. My husband tried this soup and loved it even though he hates beans!

Chris K. said...

So I adapted this recipe tonight for using up some leftover smoked chicken from the weekend. Here's how I tweaked it:

- 3 cups chopped smoked chicken
- 1/2 tsp. each cumin and coriander
- Only 1 can of black beans in the pantry. Crap! But I also had a can of refried black beans, so I chucked that in there too.
- some extra water to thin out the refried beans

Garnished with some fresh cilantro and lime for acidity. Turned out really well, nice easy weeknight meal. Would've loved to add some chipotles in adobo, but not everybody loves the spicy in my house.

TentativelyTypingRandomThoughts said...

I made this soup the other day with minor adjustments. In addition to the bacon, I added chorizo (a got the raw links and took the meat out of the casing and fried it up) and lawd have mercy is was more than delicious.
Thanks Chef John!

Jeannie said...

So I have been on a soup kick the last 2 weeks. This is the fifth soup I have made and it may just me my family’s favorite. Chef John is right, is comes together very fast is very satisfying. I served it with a green salad and chicken breast. Toward the end of my soup I dumped the rest of my grilled chicken breast into my soup, and that just put it over the top. Then my husband and son did the same. My husband (who is not a soup person) says with the added chicken this soup would be a complete meal. He really loved it and claimed the leftovers to be his – not that there was much leftover. The ½ teaspoon of the chipotle pepper was just the right amount for me and my son. Neither of us likes food to be very spicy and this added just enough heat without being too spicy. Even my husband who does like spicy food was happy with this amount of chipotle pepper.

Rob said...

Is the chipotle pepper you use a dry spice or the one in adobo sauce?

Chef John said...

The dry! :)