Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mexican Black Bean-Chard Soup

This hearty soup is delicious and filling - and spicy!  It gets great Mexican flavors from chorizo, black beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis, and lime juice.  Chard adds some bits of green (and makes you feel all healthy!) and red pepper flakes add even more heat (those you can omit if you're not a fan of spicy food).  The soup is very easy to put together - after a bit of sauteing, everything just simmers on the stove to let the flavors combine.  The time-consuming part here is soaking and cooking the beans, which the recipe suggests cooking from dry beans.  I did this because I had the time (and because dried beans are cheap), but didn't find that it had a major impact on the final soup, so you can definitely used canned beans to make this is quicker recipe.

Mexican Black Bean-Chard Soup (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 6

1-1/4 cups dried black beans
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
Canola oil
1/4 pound fresh bulk chorizo
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bushy sprig fresh thyme, chopped
1 bushy sprig fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1-1/2 cups chopped Swiss chard (about half of a large bunch)
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 tsp fresh lime juice

1. Pick through the beans to remove any small stones, and then rinse.  Transfer to a bowl, and cover with cold water by three inches.  Cover, and soak overnight (or at least 4 hours).
2. Drain and rinse the beans, and place them in a soup pot.  Add the garlic clove, bay leaf, and 6 cups of water.  Simmer, stirring every half hour or so, until the beans are tender, about 60-90 minutes (cooking time will vary, so taste to determine when they're done).
3. Place a strainer in a medium bowl, and drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.  Discard the bay leaf and garlic clove.
4. Heat a little oil in a large soup pot over medium heat (you can use the bean cooking pot if you rinse it out).  Add the chorizo, breaking it up with a spatula, and stir often until the chorizo begins to brown, 5-8 minutes.  Transfer the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the fat in the pot.
5. Take a look at the fat in the pot - if there's about 2 T, you're good - you can pour some out or add some canola oil if needed.  Add the onions and season generously with salt and pepper.  Cooking, stirring often, until the onions begin to soften, 4-6 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring for about one minute.  Add the tomatoes and Swiss chard, stirring to incorporate.  Add 2 cups of the broth, bring to a simmer, and simmer 10 minutes.
6. Add the beans to the pot along with one cup of the reserved bean-cooking liquid.  Add a cup of broth - more if you think the soup could use it.  Add the chorizo.  Stir everything and simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.
7. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with lime juice, salt, and pepper.

1 comment:

  1. Looks really comforting Sara, I am happy to learn I can use canned beans. My dad will surely love this homey dish. You never fail to amaze me with your delicious hearty recipes...

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