by Emma Chow
This soup is one of the easiest, but most delicious and wholesome soups that you can make. Black beans are crazy cheap when you buy big bags of the dried stuff, rather than the mushy canned variety. This soup is deeply flavourful, spicy and can be really fun when you garnish it with some favourite taco toppings like fresh coriander, sour cream, a sprinkle of grated cheese or crumbled queso fresco, diced tomato and avocado, or tabasco sauce. Some strips of toasted tortilla or crumbled corn chips make a nice crouton alternative. This soup is much more filling than you’d expect. One bowl is fully warming and satisfying, especially with the garnishes. This will serve 8 people. I tend to serve half and freeze the other.
1.5 cups raw black beans, soaked overnight
2 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce (alternatively you can just use a whole dried chipotle, a couple fresh chillies of your choice or a pinch of dried chilli flakes)
2 red capsicum
2 cloves garlic
8 cups water
Salt and pepper
To serve: (optional) coriander leaves, sour cream, grated cheese, diced tomato, diced avocado, tortilla strips, crumbled corn chips, tabasco sauce, lime juice.
Once your black beans have soaked overnight, tip them into a saucepan with their soaking water and top with a couple more cups. Simmer until beans are tender.
Finely dice onion, red capsicum and finely chop garlic.
In a separate saucepan, add a couple tablespoons of your usual cooking oil. Sauté onion, capsicum and garlic until the onion is translucent, and has taken on some colour.
If you are using fresh chilli finely chop it and sauté together withthe onion, capsicum and garlic. If using dried or chilli flakes, I’d recommend toasting these in a separate pot or pan to get maximum flavour, before adding it to other soup ingredients. Otherwise if you are using the chipotle in adobo sauce, just add it now and break it up a bit with a spoon.
Add cooked black beans to the pot along with any remaining cooking water.
Add 6 cups of water to this mixture and allow to simmer for at least 1 hour.
Soup is cooked when beans have started to break apart.
The soup will have a chunky texture but the liquid will be thickened by the black beans which have broken down. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It’s fun to have the garnishes on the table so your family can add what they like to their portion.
This soup freezes well. Allow to cool completely before pouring into a suitable container. I’d keep it in the freezer for no more than 2 months. In the fridge this soup should keep for a week.