Friday, May 18, 2012

Soup for a cold summer's day

(I don't have any pictures because I, my friends, am not the Pioneer Woman. Use your imagination.)

On Monday I met my friend Jenny for lunch at a Houston institution called Ruggles, and I ordered black bean soup. Ever since I've been dreaming about it so I made some last night. It was so good, I need to write down how I did it before I forget how I did it. 

Yankee Kelly asked incredulously why I was eating soup in Houston in the summer. Because it's only 90 degrees, Kelly. This here is balmy. Sweater weather. 

Black Bean Soup

makes enough for dinner & leftovers

10 slices bacon (ah, the secret ingredient, revealed off the bat)
Sriracha sauce (secret ingredient #2)
3 onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
garlic - a few tablespoons from my giant Costco chopped garlic jar
2 cans chicken broth
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
I can of beer
cumin and chili powder. To your liking. I probably used 2T of chili powder and 1T of cumin but I don't know because I just stand and shake
5 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Salt & pepper

cilantro, shredded cheese, lime juice, sour cream, chopped green onion, diced avocado
Some yummy bread or tortilla chips

I bake my bacon in the oven because I'm lazy like that. Remove the bacon and cut it in pieces - I use my kitchen scissors for this, because I cut everything with scissors that I can. Especially green onions. And herbs. And often celery. Maybe that's weird. Don't you dare pour out that bacon grease, that's liquid gold, baby. Drain it into a large pot - tall is good - and saute the onions and garlic and half the celery. Mmmmmmm. Does anything smell better than that? Anything? Mmmmmm.

Drink half your beer. Toast me.

After the onions are translucent, add everything else, including the other half of the beer.

I just added a tenintsy squirt of Sriracha sauce and it made it just spicy enough. But we eat everything spicy - Shep at 8 is the kid who wants you to dare him to eat a whole jalapeno - so if your family is less inclined (Kelly) then leave it out, and just add it to your own bowl. If you don't have Sriracha, well, honey, you need to get some. Use Tabasco. But, listen, it won't be the same.

Bring the soup to a boil then turn down the heat and let it simmer for about ten minutes.

Ruggles' soup was creamy so I used my hand blender - my new favorite kitchen toy - to puree mine up. The bacon stayed intact, thank the Lord. Then I added the 5th can of beans and rest of the celery so that it would have a little texture. But you can skip the blending if you feel lazy.

I also added a little bit of cornstarch to thicken it up, which I am warning you will get you kicked off Top Chef, so sneak it in when the judges aren't looking.  I also would have added a wee bit of Worcestershire if I had some but I didn't so I didn't.

I strongly suggest having some really good bread to go with this. The Kashi crackers I had so didn't cut it. Don't skip the lime juice squeezed on top, it's the best part.

Bon appetit, y'all!


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