Thursday, July 22, 2010

Black Bean Soup

Every once in a while when we go down to the beach and see tourists posing for pictures as the sun sinks into the ocean we pinch ourselves and think "Wow... how lucky are we to live in a place were so many people go on vacation?"  While I don't spend nearly enough time at the beach, I really like knowing it is there, just a mile and a half away.  Somehow, knowing that I can leave my congested bumper to bumper freeway, crowded shopping mall or busy dance center and look out at that expanse of water and know that no one else is out there (well, except for the fishermen, military ships and occasional cruise vessel) makes me feel less hurried and more balanced.  I am able to maintain a semblance of peace with the crowd behind me, but not all around me.  I love to feel the sun on my face as the warm ocean breezes keep me cool.  

Sun, that is the magic elusive word.  For the last two weeks we have experienced a deep marine layer that is sometimes referred to here in San Diego as the May Gray or the June Gloom.  As you can see by those references, the gray is supposed to be here in May, or June.  Not July!  Not having seen the sun for weeks is beginning to wear a bit thin and to be honest, I'm feeling quite grumpy.  Reading so many other blogs with stories of their sunny summer days, iced pops, ice cream, lemonade refreshments, etc is making me downright envious.  What I would give for a good, sunny and hot, sweltering day!

To cure my blues and warm up my chilly bones (OK, it is 70º, but I'm still cold!) I perused my books for a good soup and settled on this Black Bean Soup.  I first made the recipe some three or four years ago and had completely forgotten about it.  My notes say that it was met with approval from my "I like lots of flavor" husband and that it was definitely a keeper.  With my recent bounty of heirloom tomatoes waiting to be used, the salsa also seemed to fit our sunless summer mood and I got to chopping.  

The soup goes together easily for one of those last minute decision meals and you can chop the salsa ingredients while the soup simmers away.  I use an immersion blender before serving to thicken the soup slightly.  I do like full beans in my soup so I am careful not to over puree to get that perfect hearty consistency I'm looking for.  Sour cream adds a touch of creaminess that is topped with the flavorful, summer (without sun...) salsa. 

The weather guy is promising a bit of a break in the clouds tomorrow.  With our Jr. Lifeguard session in full swing, I know the kids will welcome a bit of warmth to go with their chilly morning ocean swims, my dreary zucchini plant will perk up his little leaves and reach for the sky, and I will stick my toes in the warm sand and thank the sun gods for shining on us!  

Black Bean Soup 

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup chicken broth

1 - 2 medium tomatoes (I used my fresh heirlooms!), seeded and chopped
¼ cup red onion, diced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
3 Tbs chopped cilantro
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
sour cream
diced avocado

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and chopped yellow onion.  Saute until soft, then add garlic, and spices.  Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add drained beans, chicken broth and enough water to generously cover the ingredients.  Bring to a simmer.

To make the salsa, chop all ingredients into a medium bowl, season with the lime juice, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings or spiciness as desired.  

Simmer soup for approximately 1/2 hour, or until all ingredients are soft.  Blend with an immersion blender if desired to your perfect consistency.  

Spoon soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, salsa and diced avocado.  Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a hearty, mood enhancing meal.

Black Bean on FoodistaBlack Bean


  1. I miss living near the beach! It's such a calming part of nature to be around! I love this black bean soup recipe! Sounds so rich and flavorful, can't wait to try it!

  2. Hope you like the soup Peggy. You are right, even despite the weather we love it here and wouldn't change a thing!

  3. I love black beans and this soup looks delicious. I will have to substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth to satisfy the vegetarians in the family, but it shouldn't affect the flavor too much.

    I know exactly the feeling you have when you think "Wow... how lucky are we to live in a place were so many people go on vacation". It is easy to take for granted sometimes. I loved San Diego when we visited there a couple of years ago and was hoping to get back there this year.

  4. Felice, I have used vegie broth in the past, works just fine.

    We love San Diego, although that fog is still hanging around! My husband travels to Hawaii (mostly Oahu) frequently and always sends me numerous phone pictures of of Diamond Head and his Mahi Mahi dinners at Chucks. We love your state!

  5. Thanks for the post, this sounds really good, we will give it a try! Hang in there, the sun will be back......

  6. Thanks Tiffany... Hope you like the soup as much as we did. My kids are thinking that the sun will probably shine strong on the first day of school!

  7. I've recently declared a truce with black beans. This looks really *good*! This is going to be dinner since I have everything. I'm glad you posted this!

  8. I will try to make this one pretty soon. Thanks for sharing. Feel free to visit my site for canning salsa tips and other recipes.

  9. Hello Kim! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. This is a lovely blog and awesome Black Bean Soup recipe. One of the things I love the most about visiting great blogs like yours is I get to not only see food I've never seen prepared before, but you get to read about how they taste. Love it..... & now I'm hungry .... again :) By the way you can place more Foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other Foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!


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