Recipe Review: Black Bean Soup

Feb.03.10 § Leave a comment

I made this crock pot black bean soup recipe last week. Finally, a black bean soup recipe that’s actually good! And it uses the magic machine, ie crock pot, which makes everything scrumptious with so little effort. I made the recipe to a t, which is unusual. Typically I find something I want to change about a recipe and make it my own. But I’ve never had success with black bean soups. I’ve never made one I liked. But I did really like this one. It was definitely the chipotles.

Although it tasted a little bit like this:

I used to bring this soup to work with me at least once a week. Spice Hunter’s has that instant-soup-mix flavor, like you can tell it was all powder a few minutes before you ate it. But otherwise, the taste is very similar.

I didn’t make the cumin seed crema, because my spice grinder is caked with coffee grinds. But while I was eating the soup I thought it would have been just perfect with some cilantro or a cilantro sour cream. Smitten Kitchen reportedly hates cilantro, so I understand why she didn’t use it. But next time, I will.

The best part about this recipe was learning a secret about beans. The bean and I are pretty close so I was a little hurt to find out it had been keeping something from me, especially one like this. Crock pot=perfect, quick beans. I know, I know. You’re saying I’m a liar. You don’t believe me. And the truth is, it might not work for you. It seems, based on my research, that cooking beans depends on two main variables: your tap water and the age of the beans. I don’t know what the formula is, so you just have to try it and find out.

Lately, I’ve seen dried beans catching on. Good Housekeeping published a whole spread, including this recipe which I can’t wait to make and this great how-to video for the standard cooking method. The reason dried beans are getting popular is a no-brainer: beans are cheap! The healthiest food is the cheapest to buy, people just don’t know what’s good for them. When my budget got tight I started buying dry beans again. But I think for most people, the cooking process is a deterrent; the sorting, the soaking, the waiting. But it really doesn’t take as long as everyone thinks.

For me, I can soak beans for only four hours and simmer them for 45 minutes. But what if I don’t want to do the soaking? What if I forgot? Crock pot to the rescue! It’s like the kitchen appliance super hero. You can cook beans in a crock pot without soaking them, and in just three hours or less. I made some cannelini yesterday. I put them in at lunch and came home from work five hours later and they were just about to turn to mush. So, it’s not something you can really set and leave all day, but it’s much, much easier than the method most people are using. And if you go to the store and stock up, you can come home and spend an entire day cooking and packaging beans. Cover them with a little of the cooking liquid and store in the fridge or freezer.

I really, really love beans.

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