I am not ashamed to tell you that I am a bit sick of soup now. For five days straight we have eschewed regular meals in favour of liquefied meals. I know that you have all enjoyed reading about our five days of soup, but really. Imagine eating just soup for 120 hours. Not literally 120 hours, obviously that would surely give us some kind of Guinness Book of Records award, but every, single night for five days! What was I thinking? Last night all I wanted for dinner was Mashed Potato.
“Can’t we have mashed potato?” I begged Paul, imploringly.
“No! We said five days of soup and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
"Mashed Potato Soup?"
And now, here I sit, Friday night beverage in hand, ice cubes chinking, writing about our final soup of the week.
Surely, I hear you cry, you must have made something startlingly brilliant and original, like lobster bisque with a crabs roe foam or Foie Gras Consomme garnished with the corneas of a Wagyu Cow. Actually, we went for something far heartier, tastier and considerably cheaper than that: Black Bean Soup.
As an indication of how uneducated the British palate still is to Tex Mex food, the bag of black beans, purchased at the weekend, were in the reduced bin. Unfortunately, I suspect it was due to the hugely inflated price of them (£4.99 – equivalent to nearly 10 bucks!) that was the cause of their fall from specialist aisle darling to dumpster bin reject.
Still, Tescos loss is our gain. The soup was a breeze to make, prepped in just 10 minutes flat. 90 minutes later and the soup was ready to serve. I didn’t even use a recipe, I simply prepared them as I do Puy Lentils, but adding a couple of red hot dried chilis and a good pinch of freshly ground toasted cumin seeds.
Paul said that this was his favourite soup of the week and not Day 1 after all. Well, if it has the words Tex or Mex in the recipe, he's happy. Incidentally, this is my entry for A Veggie Ventures Soup's On event. There have been so many great soup recipes so far!
400g Black Beans, soaked overnight
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Stick Celery, finely chopped
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Dried Chilis (small, hot ones)
1.5 Litres Beef Stock (I used cubes)
20g Lard or equivalent vegetable oil
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano or Epazote
Spring Onion, Sour Cream, grated Cheddar for garnishing
Drain the soaked beans and rinse well.
In a large saucepan or stock pot, melt the lard and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more.
Stir in the beans, chilis, cumin and oregano. DO NOT SALT AT THIS STAGE!
Cover with the stock and bring to the boil.
Turn down to a gently simmer, cover and leave for about an hour and a half.
The stock will have turned a rich, black colour when ready and the beans will be tender.
Now you can add the salt. If you salt the beans before cooking, they will stay hard.
Once you have seasoned it to your satisfaction, serve in deep bowls sprinkled with chopped spring onion, sour cream and grated cheese. Paul split taco shells, covered them with grated cheese and grilled them as a large 'garnish' for his soup!