Black bean sweet potato soup ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

19 November 2008

Black bean sweet potato soup

It's fall and I have a freezer! That means STOCKPILE.

I wanted to make a gigantic pot of soup: some to eat now, some to eat for lunch tomorrow, and some to freeze. This meant I used Lots of every ingredient: two medium onions, three or four potatoes, not enough beans (I used a can; 3 cups would've been better). The most important thing is to get the ratio of beans to sweet potato roughly even, with a little smaller proportion of onion. You can make this soup in any quantity; just make sure your pot is big enough.

Black bean sweet potato soup

cooked black beans
sweet potato
regular boiling potato if needed
olive oil
yellow onion
jalapeno pepper
cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, bay leaf
avocado garnish

Warm some olive oil in the bottom of a big soup pot. Dice up an onion or two and toss it in. Finely mince a jalapeno and toss that in too. Add several good shakes of cumin and a little cayenne pepper, mix it up, and let it all soften.

Peel and dice at least one sweet potato. We only had one, so we had to make up the difference with some plain redskin potatoes. Clearly, two sweet potatoes would be a better idea and get you a more intense soup, so if you have them, use them. I wanted more sweet potatoes!

When the onion business is soft and translucent, tip in the sweet potato and a bay leaf or two. Then fill the pot about halfway with water. HALFWAY. We were using a 3 quart pan, and managed to get the water level within an inch of the top. Go us! The subsequent boil and simmer were eventful.

Yeah. If you're making a bigger batch of soup, use a bigger pot.

So bring your pot to a boil, lower the heat, clap on the lid (unless you need to evaporate off some of the extra water and splatter every surface in the kitchen with soup in process. Go us!), and simmer until the potatoes are soft. This should take maybe a half hour or 45 minutes.

At this point you have some puree-oriented choices. You can leave the business chunky, add your black beans, heat though, and eat. You can puree the soup, then add your black beans, heat through, and eat. Or you can add your black beans, heat through, puree, and eat. In any of these cases, make sure the pot of soup is off the heat while you puree! This won't be an issue is you're using a stand blender, but for the stick blender: be aware.

John wanted a puree with chunks of black bean, so we went for option 2.

Put it in a bowl and eat it!

On the first occasion, I had the soup plain and it was good.

On the second occasion, I also had a ripe avocado. So I diced up some avocado and strewed it over my soup. This was an excellent idea, and let me use the rest of the avocado for a boatload of guacamole besides. The avocado gives you some of the same effects as dairy garnish (i.e. sour cream or drained yogurt, which would also work here): a smooth, cool, fatty component to take out some of the spice and sting.

I used the avocado trick to dice my avocado. Do you know the avocado trick? Probably, since it's been over the blogs.

First, cut the avocado in half lengthwise. To get out the pit, whack your knife blade into it, then twist. The pit will come loose and remain stuck to the blade. Pry it off and chuck it, or start an avocado tree if you want.

Now use your knife to cut a grid into the avocado flesh without breaking the skin. You'll end up with a bunch of diced avocado still organized nicely. Push your thumb into the back of the skin, effectively turning the business inside out, to pop out the pieces of avocado.

Voila: avocado trick.

Eat it eat it!

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