When I first began cooking in earnest, I watched a lot of the Food Network. Recipes cooked and loved were printed out, inserted into plastic sleeves (so cooking splatters were easily removed), and organized in a binder. Within a few years I shifted more heavily and then completely to blog and cookbook content, and started saving most recipes on Pinterest.
Unable to completely let go of that stage in my cooking education, the binder has moved five times with me in the last five years and still holds some recipe gems. This black bean soup was an early addition, but my cooking style has changed enough that the method and ingredients needed an update. This version requires a little more time because it uses dried beans, but is even more economical and tastier because of them. The chipotles make for a smokey undercurrent in this rich tasting but humble soup.
Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema
- 1 lb black beans, soaked overnight and drained
- ½ lb bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, diced (about 2½ cups)
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 quart of stock, such as vegetable or chicken
- 2 cups water
- 1 28-oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-2 chipotles en adobo, minced
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- juice from ½ a lime
- ½ cup sour cream
Put your bacon in a large pot over medium heat. Cook 5-10 minutes, until the fat has rendered out and the bits are starting to crisp. Drain out all but a tablespoon of the fat (save it for cooking!!), and add in the onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Add in the beans, bay leaf, stock, and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes check your beans – they should be close to done. If they still have some crunch let them cook for another few minutes. When they are tender add the canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, chipotles en adobo (1 makes for a nice smoky flavor, 2 for heat), and salt. Stir to combine and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
You can serve the soup as is, partially pureed, or entirely pureed (use a potato masher, stick blender, or spoon part/all of the soup into an upright blender). I go in the middle, so the soup is thickened a bit but there are still whole beans and tomato.
Stir the sour cream and lime together until uniformly combined.
Serve with extra chipotle en adobo or hot sauce, crema, and any crumbs from the bottom of the bag of tortilla chips.