The Season for Soup: Black Bean Soup

The weather has turned here in the greater metro DC area, and in our house, this means that soup will begin to be featured on our menus.  I had been having a hankering for black bean soup, and had purchased some ham hocks in preparation.  Last week was nutty at home (nothing like two back-to-school nights in a row) and work and I was planning to use the slow cooker.  But the Man of the House raised a red flag.  He protested that making the soup in the slow cooker would lead to mushy beans, and that was completely unappealing to him. Of course, when we’re out of the house all day, it’s hard to get the soup going  on the stove top.

So, I put my thinking cap on….and thought that if  we soaked the black beans during the day when we were at work instead of overnight as cookbooks typically suggest, then maybe we could make the soup in the evening and we could eat at a reasonable time. [Note to any readers with young kids – we have three teens, so dinner is often served on a later schedule in our house (we like to think of it as European style), typically between 7:30 and 8:30 — which might not fit your model of a reasonable dinner time.]   And you know what?  It worked!

So here’s what we did:

First, we soaked a 16 ounce package of dried black beans all day while we were at work.

At 6:30, when I returned home, I drained the beans, refilled the pot with fresh water, added two ham hocks, brought the pot to a boil, then brought it to a simmer and partially covered it.

Then, the Man of the House and I took a 45 minute walk while the kids finished their homework.

When we got home, we checked the beans.

They were “al dente” (okay, that’s probably not the right term, but you know what I mean – soft but not mushy). VICTORY!

So, I then prepped the veggies (all local in origin – either from the farmer’s market or our CSA):

carrots, red onion, celeriac (the funny looking vegetable in the picture – leaves like celery, root like a mild fennel), red pepper, leftover corn, a handful of leftover rice, and  a mix of dried Italian seasoning, and added them into the pot.

We let it simmer for another15 or 20 minutes until the carrots were soft (cutting them thin helped here), toasted some leftover sourdough bread from last week’s farmer’s market, and served it up with fresh lime slices. Pictured below is what is left – not too much broth left – fortunately we can just add a little more water when we reheat and we’ll be ready to go.

Easy to make, fits into our evening schedule, and is much better than when it’s made in the slow cooker.

I’m moving to the soaking during the day model from here on out….

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2 Comments to “The Season for Soup: Black Bean Soup”

  1. Looks delicious, and you’re inspiring me to get back into soups. But my favorite part was your 45 minute walk while the dinner cooked and the kids did homework. Ah, that sounds so luxurious 🙂

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