Friday, March 5, 2010

Black Bean Soup -- Slow Cooker

I cannot for the life of me remember where I found this recipe -- but since no one really reads this blog, I guess I don't need to be all uptight about citing my sources....

I've found that the love of black beans is pretty universal here in our house, and as mentioned previously I'm working on: 1. More soup and 2. (previously un-announced) more slow cooker recipes.  TA DA -- the perfect marriage of both.

Now spicy is an issue -- and this recipe originally called for chipoltes -- which is too much for most of us.  So I substituted roasted pablanos -- I think it still needs a bit of a kick, next time I think I may put a few dashes of hot sauce --

Black Bean Soup

Yields 6 main course servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 pablano pepper (roasted for about 12 minutes in 350 degree oven) seeded and chopped
7 cups hot water (I just used very hot tap water)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir one minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours. [See note up top.]
Use the wand blender to puree until smooth. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste; we found we needed more salt. Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of toasted cumin seed cream (below) over each bowl and serve.
Do ahead: This soup keeps great in the fridge, and even thickens a bit. In a good way!

Toasted Cumin Seed Crème Fraîche
Hacked from Bobby Flay
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 cup crema or crème fraîche (or make your own crema, make your own crème fraîche, or swap sour cream or yogurt, for a close-enough taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the cumin in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly golden brown. Place in spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until coarse. Stir it into the creme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Could have sworn I got this from The Bitten Word -- but can't find it there now...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fajita Sweet Potatoes

I know, I know, two posts in a row on fajita food -- but this one is really good and really easy. Granted, I think I'm the only member of the family that liked these -- and so, I'll be eating them for the next 5 days (so many leftovers) -- BUT, so very very good, so easy, and so good for me!

From The Bitten Word

Fajita Sweet Potatoes

Peel and chop sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil to coat. Add 2T (or entire packet) of fajita seasoning. Roast in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Fajita Soup

I don't know if I've said this out loud, but I've been trying to make more soup. As a matter of fact, I have a goal to make it once a week. It seems like something everyone around here likes, it's very nutritious (don't tell the kids, but I can sneak in all kinds of veggies) and it can be sort of easy, sometimes. I'm going to make a soup category.

Anyway, I re-subscribed to Cooking Light when a local middle schooler came around raising money for the band, and this recipe is the first one I tried. I wouldn't say it was a hands down winner, but it can definately go into the rotation -- it may get better reviews in the future.

Chili Spiced Chicken Soup with StopLight Peppers and Avocado Relish
(or, simply put, Fajita Soup)

Spice Mix:
2 1/2 t. chili powder
2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. black peper
1/2 t. kosher salt

1 T. canola oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
2 c. chopped sweet onion
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
1 c. chopped green bell pepper
1 c. chopped yellow bell pepper
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
2 c. fresh corn kernels
1 32 oz. carton chicken broth
1 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (undrained)
2 T. fresh lime juice

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c. chopped green onions
1 t. grated lime rind
3 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
1 diced peeled avocado

1. Prepare spice blend in a small bowl
2. Heat 2t. oil in the soup pot, add chicken; sprinkle with 1 1/2 T. of spice blend. Saute 8 minutes or until done. Cool. Chop chicken; set aside.
3. Heat remaining 1 t. oil in pan over med-high heat. Add onion, peppers, garlic and 1/2 t. salt. Sprinkle remaining spice blend; saute 8 minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir in chicken, corn, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 15 minutes, add lime juice.
4. To prepare relish, combine cilantro and next 4 ingredients.
5. Ladle soup into bowls, top with relish.

From Cooking Light, March 2010 (p. 172)