Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema - Vegetal MattersWhen 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

Serves 6. Adapted from David Lieberman and Joy the Baker.

  • 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.

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Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls with Green Sauce

Vegetal Matters - Burrito Bowls with Green SauceI don’t repeat dishes often. What I’m cooking constantly changes based on seasons and whims. As always there are a few exceptions, but usually in the form of a dish based on staples that I can easily adapt with whatever veg and other seasonings are available. Burrito bowls have been in the rotation for years now, but I always felt like they could use some kind of binder and shredded cheese never really cut it. These grilled sweet potato bowls inspired me to go the sauce route, and the first time I made this green sauce I felt like I cracked the burrito bowl code. It is the kind of sauce you make a jar of then end up putting it on every meal you have. Try it with tacos, or the scrambled eggs you make to go along with leftover beans.

Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls with Green Sauce

Serves 6. Loosely based on these.

Sweet potatoes are a personal favorite, but you could use any veg you have in addition or instead of them. This could easily become vegan by making a few substitutions in the sauce: use agave instead of honey, silken tofu instead of the yogurt, or leave out the yogurt altogether. You could easily turn these into actual burritos, or serve with smaller tortillas on the side. To the cilantro haters: I’m very sorry, and parsley could be subbed. One more note: jalapeños can greatly vary in spiciness, so taste a little bit if you are worried about adding too much heat.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes (this was 2 for me)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt

Black Beans

  • 3 cups of black beans and their cooking liquid (or 2 15oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup of  red onion (a quarter of  a large one for me, with a bit of the remainder chopped for topping)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Green Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small jalapeño, or half a large (seeds removed if you don’t want the spice)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice from 1 lime (mine was 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (regular or Greek would work)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

For serving

  • cooked brown rice
  • chopped red onion or scallion
  • hot sauce
  • chopped avocado
  • chopped jalapeño

Preheat the oven to 425F. Scrub the sweet potatoes (no need to peel though), and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Put the coriander and cumin seeds in a small dry pan and heat on medium. Let them toast for about 5 minutes, until they start to color and you can smell them. Let them cool for a minute and then grind in a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder if you have one, but not your coffee grinder). Toss the sweet potatoes in oil, ground spices, chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Pop them in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.

Chop the onion and then heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion and saute uncovered for 5 minutes until slightly softened. While it is sauteing mince the garlic clove. After 5 minutes add the garlic clove and saute for 1 minute. Add the beans, cover, and bring to a simmer. Remove the lid, and left simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened. Finish with some salt and the teaspoon of vinegar.

Start the motor of your food processor and drop in the garlic clove. Let it get pulverized, then drop in the jalapeño until it is equally pulverized. Wipe down the sides with a spatula, then add the cilantro. Run until the cilantro is minced, then add the cumin, lime juice, yogurt, olive oil, honey, and a pinch of salt. Run until it is a smooth, green sauce. Alternatively, you can mince the garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro, then whisk together with the rest of the ingredients.

Serve bowls with rice, topped with beans and sweet potato. Let diners add additional toppings and sauce to their liking.