Birthday week 2: SOUPS ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

12 October 2009

Birthday week 2: SOUPS

We didn't do anything remarkable foodwise on Sunday (or at least anything new, since dinner = more pesto toast), but Monday was pretty great. We've been feeling very fally, so I decided to make a vast amount of soup. I went through the crisper and came up with this.

Black bean and corn soup with surprise root vegetables

olive oil
serrano/other hot pepper
poblano/other mildish green pepper
black beans
veg broth
cumin, oregano
salt, pepper
fresh corn

In a heavy soup pot, warm some olive oil (or butter) on medium. Peel and chop half an onion; add it to the pot. As it's beginning to soften, smash, peel, and chop three or four cloves of garlic; add them to the pot. Trim and finely slice a serrano/other hot pepper and a mild pepper and add them as well. Season with oregano and cumin. Cook the business for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown.

Root vegetables: I didn't have any carrots or celery, but I did have several tiny, squat parsnips, so I peeled one, chopped it up, and added it to the pot. My turnips were pretty small too, so I chose one of them and did the same thing. I'm really not sure turnips need to be peeled, but whatever; I'd rather have the soup too smooth than not. You could clearly sub in carrots, celery, and maybe a potato, but these two weird little ingredients gave the soup a complex underlying flavor that is totally worth trying. Secret root vegetable extravaganza!

Salt and pepper, stir everything together, and cook to soften for about five minutes.

Now is the time to add black beans and veg broth. I just made my broth alongside the main soup: I boiled a pot of water with all the vegetable trimmings plus a couple kale stalks and mushrooms from my freezer stash. Ten minutes makes a totally fine broth; just strain out the vegetables and pour the broth into your main soup pot. For the beans, I grabbed a block of frozen black beans in bean broth and just threw it into the pot. Bring to a boil (melting beans if you are me and make frozen beans all the time), cover, and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until all your vegetables are cooked through.

While things are simmering, husk a couple ears of corn. Cut all the kernels off and put them to the side. You could also use frozen corn, but we still had the very end of our summer stash, so I used that.

Now is the time to puree. With the pan off the heat, use a blender or immersion blender to bring your soup to your desired degree of smoothness. When you're done, throw all your corn into the soup. Cook for a few minutes, until the corn is warmed through but not completely cooked to death.

If the soup is too thin, you can keep simmering it, partially covered, until it thickens down. Otherwise, taste for any seasoning adjustments, then eat it.

Soup obviously wants a big pile of crispy toast on the side and a big whack of parsley on top.

Next: SOUPS PART II: THE RECKONING, aka John's birthday dinner.

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