Friday, October 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup – Something from Almost Nothing

This black bean soup saved me during a recent attack of, “Oh my God, there is nothing in kitchen to cook with!” Even though it sometimes seems that way, there's rarely, literally nothing to cook with. I quickly found a few slices of bacon, a couple cans of beans, and an onion, and with the help of a spicy lime and green onion relish, turned it into a very decent bowl of soup.

It got me thinking about all those long shelf life, must-have pantry and fridge staples you can count on to produce a meal when lacking supplies. My short list is olive oil, beans, pasta, bacon, Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggs, tomato sauce, anchovies, salami, capers, garlic, onions, potatoes, and fresh citrus. As long as those things are close by, I can still look forward to a great meal no matter how sparse the rest of the provisions.

By the way, this will work with any smashable bean, and rumor has it that a handful of sausage in place of the bacon is a great variation. With wet, chillier days ahead, I think you’ll have occasion to give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Servings:
6 slices bacon
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth or water
2 cans black beans, rinsed, plus 1 can of water
pinch dried oregano
pinch cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt and pepper to taste
For the relish (note – I only made a little bit in the video. This is enough for 4 servings):
1/3 cup minced green onion
2 tsp crushed or minced red chilies
juice of one lime
green onions to garnish
sour cream to garnish

30 comments:

Chris K. said...

Some people believe the hole in the wooden spoon is for measuring out one portion of dried pasta. Those people are wrong, and should be slapped upside the head.

Anyone who has experienced the wrath of an Italian grandmother wielding a wooden spoon as a means of corporeal punishment will tell you that the hole is meant to maximize the pain inflicted by said instrument upon one's knuckles or scalp, due to the reduced air resistance.

I imagine that's why Chef John avoided the question: too many traumatic memories.

Yeah... anyhoo, I like to add a bit of grated fresh cotija cheese in my black bean soup.

chacha said...

This looks like a winner - fast, easy and healthy! I think my family will love it. And I do agree that a little crumbled cojita would be a great addition.

Yellow Starkey said...

As far as I know, the hole in the spoon is to facilitate stirring with the least resistance from the fluid. This principle can also be applied to dishes which should be stirred gently, like risotto, which benefit from agitation without over-mixing to mush.

Steven K. said...

I think I own that spoon. Mine came from Bed, Bath & Beyond with 5 other, different bamboo spoons for like $6. Now I know what to use that spoon for: bean soup!

Jeremy said...

Hahaha Chef, your too funny.

kavin hill said...

I imagine that's why Chef John avoided the question: too many traumatic memories.I imagine that's why Chef John avoided the question: too many traumatic memories.

rabah said...

This bean soup is the best comfort food on a cold night.. I am having it for lunch now. Delicious !!! I love the relish so much. I made extra to use it with my fajita for dinner.. Actually the relish can be used with any dish.. Chef John can I use other kinds of bean?? Like red bean or pinto beans??

Jeni said...

Bacon + black beans = hell yeah

Bobolink said...

Thank you for posting a crushable bean recipe that not require a blender. We are not all so fortunate to own one!

Sandra from Montreal said...

Made this today and just consumed it for lunch. YUM! Thanks for another amazing recipe, Chef John

Adolf Snarn said...

Make way freakishly small wooden spoon, your days are numbered... We will now worship this new spoon, the spoon with the hole in, the Holy Spoon!

John G. said...

Hello Chef- Now that we have your short list of pantry items I was wondering if, at some future juncture when you, say, run out of holy spoon jokes, you could post a longer pantry idea list with a recipe or two to illustrate the amazing utility and resourcefulness of said stocked pantry and it's nirvana-like bliss-inducing state of rapture. Not to be confused with other raptures currently being contemplated elswhere.

I'm pretty sure that's the longest sentence I've ever written.

Thank you, Chef!

Claudine said...

"That is a really interesting, interesting question." You are hysterically funny and have me laughing out loud regularly.

Your must-have short list is full of all those great strong flavored add-ins. I don't need to keep the salami around, but the rest, along with sour cream or creme fraiche and coconut milk, are on mine. I also snag fresh herbs all the time from my garden, so that's a must have for me.

I really do "Enjoy" all your videos and look forward to your creative and sweet sense of humor as much as the recipes.

Thank you.

Grandma Honey said...

I just made this for dinner tonight and we quite loved it. I didn't have the ingredient on hand to make the relish so I just topped it with Trader Joes Verde Salsa...and it was perfect! What a wonderful and quick dinner. Thank you!

Karina said...

Dear Chef John, I made this for dinner too and it turned out so fabulous, just like all your posted recipes :D I used Crème Fraiche instead of sour cream for the relish. I never thought that these "Extra" toppings made such a big difference. Lime + Green onions + creme fraiche = FTW!!

PS: I skipped the chilli since I can't take any spicy food.

Anonymous said...

An amazing recipie and the kids loved it. If you pantry has a can of Rotel, do tell and add it to the soup, this added a great taste tot the soup as well.

Fantastic yard sale clean up soup.

Ramona W K. said...

I made this last night... Amazing, I'm so glad you shared the recipe, I have actually been looking for a good black bean soup for a while. I always know your recipes never let me down.

Anonymous said...

made this last night! The colour of our soup wasn't quite as nice as yours.. perhaps it was just the type of black beans i used... or i didn't mash enough.. but it still tasted wonderful and had a great texture! The only thing i changed was that I added a bit more spice to warm it up a touch more because my boyfriend and i love all things spicy. The lime,chili, onion relish and the sour cream was a wonderful treat on top as well!

I'll be adding this to our regular meal rotation.. it was a lovely soup, and will be a great quick and easy winter meal! Thanks very much!

Spot in Cyberspace said...

Gosh...you made me want this soup and I don't have the handy dandy beans-in-a-can...so I'm off to soak my black beans? They kind of look like kidney beans to me...Are they?

Jesse from Detroit said...

Whenever I feel like I just don't have enough time in my life to work on my cooking skills and make a beautiful food experience for my family, you post a video like this one... =D

Alyssa Warner said...

This looks so good! I wonder how it would work out in a slow cooker...

Anonymous said...

Love you all your video recipes, thanks, but am wondering about the size cans (black beans + water) used in this particular recipe? Can't find any reference to it either in the video itself or the text of the recipe. Thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

I just made this soup yesterday and it turned out perfectly! Love, love, love the soup recipes on this site. I used two 19 oz. cans of black beans....it made enough for 4 servings, possibly a bit more depending on serving size.

lisa0116 said...

Chef John,
I made this recently and it was great. I changed it up just a little bit..added a can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. I also added 1/2 cup of uncooked Bulgur for the last 20 minutes of simmer time to thicken more. My husband loves this and could eat it all the time. We have it with heated up corn tortilla's on the side.

Francine from NJ said...

I just made this fantastic soup and it went over well! I'd like to thank Chef John for his great work and especially his easy , laid-back humor!

piprod01 said...

I tried this recipe following pretty much to the letter the first time round and it turned out very good!

I played around with the recipe just now, skipped the bacon (partially because I didn't have any and I didn't think it added a whole lot to it the first time) and blended the whole thing very smooth. OMG, it's a lot lighter in colour and pretty thick and it tastes a lot more creamy. I'm a very happy bunny, and at £0.40 a serving, it's bloody good value!

Anonymous said...

I love this soup. The relish is delicious. I'm making it today for the 2nd time,only this time I've doubled the recipe. Thanks, Chef John.

Food Junkie said...

A nice variation on this soup can be had with some canned tomatoes (especially the kind with green chilies) and some smoked paprika. Two different soups for still very little and way good for you. Thanks for soup recipe chef John.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. Thank you so much.
I love black beans. In this vid you mention the black bean soup that takes a long time and uses the dried beans and all the slicin’ and chopin’ and dicin’ and mincin’... I'd really like to see that one someday :)

Best Beloved said...

This video recipe was featured today on allrecipe.com. I watched and thought "is it really that easy?" So I went into my kitchen and to my surprise I had all the ingredients...well the bean I had to soak first since my family feels canned beans is a sin against nature. But the next day's lunch was this soup and it was dee-lish-us. Thanks for making this video. I am now a Chef John accolyte!