Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beans, Beans...

I love beans of all kinds in all forms. Black beans, cannellini beans, re-fried beans, bean soup. In a pinch canned beans will do but they are sometimes mushy and are processed with a lot of salt. It's always best to use dry beans and rehydrate them on your own but sometimes that's easier said than done. My theory is that grocery store beans are old, sitting on the shelf for....years? The longer they sit, the drier they become and the longer it takes to cook them. Nothing is worse than working on a great pot of soup all day only to have the beans be boarder line crunchy.

I wrote about Three Sisters Garden last April in this blog post. Check it out for more info on the beautiful black beans above. In the meantime, this recipe is to-die-for!

Besides the beautiful beans, the star of the show is this Spanish chorizo. A dry cured pork sausage with garlic and paprika. It's really flavorful and since it's dry, keeps well. I bought this pieces so long ago, I don't remember when. The kids were mortified as it grew a nice coat of dry white mold. Before preparing it, I wiped with a bit of vinegar to remove the mold and I was off...

Onions. Lots of onions.

Sauteed onions and sausage alongside the soaked black beans. The recipe suggest a quick soak of one hour covered with boiling water. Consider an overnight soak, just to ensure they soften properly. Even fresh beans from the market like these require a bit more soaking the longer they sit as was the case with these local beans.

Cover with stock and allow to cook until beans are tender. I decided to thicken the soup up a bit and used the immersion blender to puree some of the beans for a rich texture. The final touch freshly squeezed orange juice to brighten the flavors.

A dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle cilantro and a big piece of hot cornbread. Perfect.

Black Bean Soup with a Hint of Orange
Sunday Soup

1# dried black beans
2T. olive oil
8 oz. Spanish chorizo sausage, cut into 1/4" cubes
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 T. dried oregano
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. kosher salt, plus more if needed
7-8 cups chicken stock (veggie would work, too)
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup sour cream
2 T. very finely julienne orange zest to garnish (optional)
2 T. chopped cilantro garnish

Rinse and sort through the beans to remove any pebbles. Put beans in a large heat proof bowl and cover with 6 cups boiling water. Soak beans for 1 hour, then drain and set aside. (You may also place beans in a pot with water to cover, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit in water overnight)

Heat oil in a large, heavy deep-sided pot (with a lid) set over medium heat. When hot, add chorizo and saute, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes more. Add oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/2 t. salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Add beans and 7 cups stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat and cover.

Cook soup, covered, at a simmer until beans are tender, for about 1 hour or longer. Remove lid and if too much liquid has evaporated, add up to 1 cup of remaining stock. If the soup seems too thin, remove 1/2 cup of solids from the soup and puree them in a food processor or blender, then stir them into the soup to thicken it. (alternately use immersion blender) Add the orange juice to the soup.

Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. Serve with sour cream, cilantro and orange zest, if desired.

The soup can be made 2 days ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat uncovered over low heat.



Emily said...

Wow whee! That is a labor of love, for sure. Your brood are very lucky to have a mama who cooks so wonderfully!!! It's an inspiration to step up my cooking!

Georgine said...

I need to start cooking my own beans and freezing them. This soup looks wonderful. Are you getting all your cooking done?

Additionsstyle said...

That sounds really tasty! I am going to have to give this recipe a try, or maybe I will just come to your house and have lunch with you!