Another recipe that made my keeper files was this simple, nourishing soup. The original was a vegan soup but well, my family, we like our meat. So with a few simple changes I made it into what would suit our tastes. I love soups because they are so easily adaptable to what you may have on hand. And that is how I roll with a lot of recipes because I was "trained" watching The Urban Peasant on tv when I was a teen and he was all about using what you have and being adaptable. It may seem like there is a lot of ingredients from the list but assembly of this soup, including the browning of the ham, took next to no time at all and within about 45 minutes I had a great supper on a busy night. The addition of the chipotle pepper gave the soup just enough of a zing to make it interesting but didn't burn our faces off. You could add more or less or skip it all together if you're not into zingy-ness.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
Adapted from All Recipes (Link will take you to the original Vegan recipe)
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 large onion, chopped
-1 stalk celery, chopped
-2 carrots, chopped
-4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
-1 Tablespoon chili powder
-1 Tablespoon canned chipotle chili, chopped
-1 Tablespoon ground cumin
-a pinch of ground black pepper
-2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 cup pasta (I used rigatoni)
-1 can whole kernel corn
-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or 4 cups water & 4 packets or cubes chicken or veg. oxo
-1 28 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 can cooked ham cut into bite sized cubes
-1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro or 1 tsp. frozen chopped cilantro (optional)
In a dutch oven or soup pot heat olive oil. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic and sautee until onion is transparent but not browning. Add chili powder, chipotle chili, cumin, black pepper. Stir. Add tomatoes, corn, 1/2 of the beans, broth and cilantro. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.
While waiting for soup to come to a simmer, place remaining beans in a blender or food processor and process with enough water to make it as smooth as possible. Add to simmering pot. Continue simmering for 20 minutes. Add pasta and simmer 8-10 minutes until al dente. (Pasta will continue to soften in hot broth so you don't want to overcook and end up with mush). Turn heat off.
If desired, in a cast iron fry pan, brown the ham cubes in a small amount of olive oil. Browning will help them to develop flavor and hold their shape but this step may be skipped if desired. Add to the hot pot of soup and let sit until they are heated through.
Serve with crusty bread.