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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Monday, April 17, 2006

black bean soup with a portuguese kick

i love bean soup. pick a bean, and i can make a soup that is not only edible, but tasty.
so today, i'll talk about black beans. Black turtle beans to be exact.

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds dried black turtle beans. actually, the "generic" black beans in the grocery store are otay for this.
  • 1 to 2 pounds of linguicia sausage, depending on your own taste. now here is where you can take this dish several ways. cajun hot links, kielbasa, hot italian, mild italian, chorizo, either mexican or spanish....hell, this dish is truly international. i like to slice the sausage in half lengthwise, then cut halfmoon disks about 1/8 inch thick. not too thin, or else they won't hold up during the cooking process, but not so thick that that's all you get on the spoon when eating.
  • 1 1/2 quart chicken or veggie stock. NOTE: pay attention to the salt in the stock. if it's not low salt, be very very careful how much salt you toss in while sweating the veggies.
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 or 4 carrots, diced, sliced, chopped, whatever floats your boat. i cut each carrot a different way, which gives a great texture to the soup.
  • 3 or 4 ribs of celery. if the celery is big, use 3. if small, use 4. diced
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp smoky spanish or hungarian paprika. spanish is best, but even plain jane paprika will work here
  • a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper or a good tbsp or so of you favorite hot sauce. that would be Tabasco around here.
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a couple of serious glugs of olive oil

sort through the beans. look for rocks, dirt, dead looking beans. this is important to do. here's what i found in the bag: 2 rocks, and a couple of nasty looking beans
click for other sizes

rinse beans, and place in a big pot with a couple of quarts of water. let the beans soak for at least 12 hours (overnight) but don't be crazy about it. if you leave these sitting for like 24 hours, they will be really mushy. bleah. i've hear that you can make beans fartless by adding a tablespoon of baking soda to the soaking water. i've tried it. can't give a definitive readout on the efficacy of the method. of course, it's been said i'd fart after a glass of water and a slice of white bread, so i'm not the best judge here. hmmm, too much information?
HINT: don't soak the beans in a white ceramic bowl that has any kind of crack on the interior. on the other hand, if you aren't sure if the bowl has cracks, soaking black beans in it overnight is a good means of determining that fact.
drain and rinse the beans.
i'm not sure why i like this picture so much. it has become one of my favorite foodblog pictures. something about the way the beans are glistening, with that deep indigo color.

in a big soup pot, add enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of the pot. then give it another glug. i'm not sure there is a way to have too much olive oil when cooking portuguese/spanish/italian foods. heat over medium, and toss in the garlic. saute for a minute or so, then add the rest of the veggies, and all the herbs/spices and saute until the onion starts to get soft. that should take around 5 minutes. don't be in a big hurry. keep the heat down around medium.
you can see what i mean about the different cuts for the carrots. i think it makes the soup a little more interesting. not a requirement.
when the veggies start to turn soft, add the stock and the beans and bring to a boil.
once boiling, drop the heat down to a simmer, and let the beans cook for around an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally to keep from burning the beans onto the bottom of the pot.
check the beans for doneness. pull a couple out and squish them with your fingers. you are there when the beans can be mushed. you don't want them so hard that it's like eating marbles, but you don't want the soup to be smooth, either. texture is a wonderful thing. when you get to that point, pull a cup or two of the beans out, and either buzz them in a food processor or mash them with a fork. add back into the pot. this will help thicken the soup up.
this would be a good time to fry the sausage up in a little olive oil. drain the excess grease off, and add to the pot. continue simmering for about half an hour. this will help the flavors all meld together.

taste and adjust salt, pepper, and hotness (remember the tabasco?) and enjoy. this was a big hit for easter dinner along with all the other goodies we had.
and it's really good the next day too!

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Made this last weekend, was a real treat, got any more that I can steal?

4/27/06, 9:56 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

glad you liked it, anonymous. it's definitely a great soup. if you are interested in any of the other recipes i have posted, including another bean soup, i might add, follow the link in the last sentence of the post

4/28/06, 11:12 AM  

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