Sunday, February 3, 2013

Smoky Black Bean Soup & Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Has it really been last summer since any of us wrote on this recipe blog?!  Have I got something yummy and perfect for these winter days to share with you!

A friend gave me Fine Cooking's One-Pot Meals magazine from 2011.  She said it had recipes that were too fancy for her to want to try.  I've been looking at them for a couple weeks now, looking forward to the day when I have ingredients to try some of the more scrumptious looking ones.  Coq Au Vin  with a spin anyone?

Last night I was looking at it again and realized there was one recipe I could do with ingredients we already had on hand.  Smoky Black Bean Soup.  I didn't have all the ingredients, but knew it was doable with some improvisation.  Totally yum.  While it did not pass my four year old's taste test, due in large part because he refused to even take a taste, it passed our taste tests with flying colors.  I do think that the average child who is willing to try a new food would like it and not find it too spicy.  It's full of flavor, very savory, and reminds us why slow cooking is such a great idea.

Grace gave me a delectable gluten free biscuit recipe very much like what you find at Red Lobster.  Tonight I made the recipe without using the gluten free mix, and it was still just as yummy.  These biscuits heat up well as leftovers in loosely wrapped foil package in the oven.  Store any leftovers in the frig.

Here's my version of Fine Cooking's Smoky Black Bean Soup:

2 cups Dried Black Beans, picked over
1 T. Oil
1 Small Onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 Leeks, white and light green parts, chopped and rinsed well, about 2 cups (I only had a cup.)
2 Medium Ribs Celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice
3 Carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 Ham Bone with a bit of meat
6 cups Water
3 Bay Leaves
2 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 tsp. Herbamare Salt (You could just use Kosher Salt.  The Herbamare is infused with herbs.)
1 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
5-6 Dashes Hot Sauce (I used Frank's Original.)
1 T. Maple Syrup
Optional Sour Cream/Plain Yogurt for Garnish

1. The night before, soak the beans in 6 cups of cool water after they have been thoroughly rinsed.

2. The next morning, rinse the beans well and set aside. (Or if you need more time, rinse them and put them in a second soaking of water for a few more hours.)

3. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and add the onion, leeks, celery, and carrots.  Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are soft and beginning to brown a bit.  This should take about 10 minutes.

4. Add the drained beans, ham bone, 6 cups of water, bay leaves, thyme, and salt to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 2 - 2.5 hours.  If the beans are tender at this point, remove the ham bone and bay leaves.  If they aren't, continue cooking a bit more.  Put the ham bone on a plate to cool so you can strip off some of the meat.

5. Puree about three cups of the soup mixture in a blender and return to Dutch oven with the rest of the soup.

6. Add the crushed tomatoes, hot sauce, and maple syrup.  Stir to combine.

7. The meat on the ham bone should be falling-off tender at this point.  Add whatever amount you prefer to the pot and stir in.  Cook about 15 more minutes to let flavors meld.  Serve with biscuits and the sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish, if you prefer.

8. You'll have enough to serve 4-6 people, or plenty to freeze for a later meal.

Here's a non-gluten free, slightly tweaked version of Grace's Garlic Cheddar Biscuits:

1 c. Trader Joe's Multi-Grain Baking Mix
1/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup Oil
1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder


1. Mix all ingredients with a fork.  Using a large cookie or muffin scoop, drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

2. Bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes about 7 good-sized biscuits.

3. Thank your lucky stars that you know Grace.

***If you need the GF version, Grace uses Pamela's Pancake Mix.  And it's quite yum.***

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