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Author Notes: I’ve made a lot of black bean soup over the years, tinkering with it relentlessly, this way and that. Here’s one of my favorite versions. Please be warned, however. The lime toasted pepitas tend to be quite addictive. Enjoy!! ;o) - AntoniaJames
Serves 4, generously
- 1 ½ cups dry black beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- ¼ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice + more to add before serving, if desired
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” pieces (about 1 ¼ cup)
- Neutral oil for the roasting pan and for tossing with the sweet potatoes
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 - 3 celery stalks, finely diced (about a cup)
- Big handful of cilantro, stems removed and finely sliced, and leaves reserved
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (I like Italian oregano for this)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin (preferably just roasted and freshly ground) + a couple of pinches for the garnishes
- 1 cup diced tomatoes in juice (I prefer Pomi, but a good canned variety will work.)
- More lime juice to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 275 degrees.
- Wash and sort through the black beans. Put in a medium saucepan with the bay leaves and garlic; cover by about three inches with filtered water. Bring to a boil, give it a good stir, and then turn the heat down to a bubbling simmer. After about a half an hour, add the stock, cilantro stems, diced celery, cumin and oregano; bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender but still firm, about an hour to an hour and a half (or longer, if your beans are not fresh). Check periodically and add more water when the beans are no longer covered with liquid.
- Meanwhile, soak the pepitas in the 2 tablespoons of lime juice for about 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly, saving the lime juice. (You’ll be adding it to the soup at the end.)
- Lightly oil a baking sheet. Toss the sweet potatoes in a teaspoon or two of oil, then sprinkle with salt and toss again. Put the sweet potato pieces at one end of the baking sheet and the drained pepitas on the other end.
- Roast in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes; toss gently (keeping the pepitas separate from the sweet potatoes), sprinkle both garnishes very lightly with ground cumin and another small pinch of salt, and continue roasting until the sweet potatoes are soft and a bit chewy – they will have shrunk – and the pepitas have started to darken somewhat, tossing again after 10 minutes if necessary. Remove and set aside.
- In a large soup pot, sweat the onion over medium-low heat just until translucent. When the beans are tender but still somewhat firm, add them to the soup pot with their broth. Simmer for about ten minutes. Blend the diced tomatoes with their juice to make a fine, smooth sauce, and add them to the pot as well. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat; simmer gently for another 10 minutes.
- Test for salt and correct.
- Just before serving, coarsely chop the cilantro leaves and stir into the soup, along with the reserved lime juice. Test and add more lime juice and/or salt, if necessary.
- Top each bowl with freshly ground black pepper, a spoonful of sweet potato chunks and a spoonful of lime-toasted pepitas.
- Enjoy!! ;o)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dinner That Makes a Good Lunch
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Autumn Soup