Black Bean Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Serves: large pot of soup
 
Slow cook black bean soup is a great Halloween meal, or any meal for a cool Autumn night!
What to get:
  • 1 lb (bag) dried black beans
  • 1 large sweet white onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 4 cups water (for initially quick-soaking dried beans)
  • 7-10 cups chicken stock (depending on cook time & bean texture)
  • ½ cup white wine (like a dry Chardonnay)
  • 2 T butter, for sautéing vegetables
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ - 1 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • dash ground cumin
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • green onion or chives, chopped for garnish (optional)
  • edible pumpkin, or squash (I used Carnival squash), to serve soup in (optional)
What to do:
(Prep ahead) - Quick Soak Dried Beans:
  1. Rinse dried beans in a colander with cool water, sorting out any debris, drain.
  2. In a large pot, add beans and cover with ~4 cups warm water (or enough to cover by ~2 inches).
  3. Bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes on stove (stir to ensure beans don't stick to pot bottom).
  4. Cover pot & remove from heat, letting beans soak untouched for 1.5 hrs (begin to prep other ingredients during this time, see steps below).
  5. Drain soaked beans & rinse with cool water, set aside.
Make Soup:
  1. While beans are soaking for the 1.5 hrs (see steps above), finely chop carrot & celery in a food processor, then followed by the onion & garlic (to a fine texture).
  2. In large soup pot (or Dutch oven), fry the 4 slices of bacon until brown & crisp (can add a little butter here if bacon will sticks to your pot bottom), set slices aside.
  3. To pot with bacon grease, add 2T butter, chopped vegetable mix, dried thyme, pinch of salt & pepper and sauté on medium for ~8 mins.
  4. Add ¼ cup chicken stock & continue to sauté mix until tender (~10 more mins) stirring often, set mix aside and turn off heat.
  5. When beans are rinsed, reheat pot with sautéed vegetable mix and add: 6 cups chicken stock, beans, 2 bay leaves, ½ tsp salt & ½ tsp black pepper—bringing mix to a boil.
  6. Let pot simmer on medium heat, partially covered for 1.5 hours (stir & check liquid levels occasionally, pot should be bubbling/almost gently boiling & beans should be covered with enough fluid, add more during if needed).
  7. After 1.5 hours check beans & liquid level, adding 2-4 cups additional chicken stock (as needed) and one strip of the cooked bacon, continue to cook (partially covered) for another 1.5 hours until soup is thickened.
  8. After 3 hours of cooking, again check tenderness of beans & liquid level (add more fluid & continue to cook as needed, to let fluid absorb & evaporate to desired consistency).
  9. Add additional ½ tsp sea salt if necessary (though the bacon strip will add some saltiness also).
  10. When beans are tender enough add ½ white wine, dash cumin & splash of red wine vinegar, simmer for 15-20 mins (removing bacon slice & 2 bay leaves, add additional S&P as desired), soup should be thick.
  11. Serve bowl of soup warm, with dollop of sour cream and chopped green onion, and crumbled bacon on top as desired.
Notes:
This soup is not difficult, but takes time on the stove, so I like to make it on weekends or when I'm able to be home at the end of the day!
Liquid levels depend on the tenderness of the beans. We quick soak the dried beans so part of the cook time is the 1.5 hours of soaking. You can continue to cook soup after 3 hours, adding more fluid until beans are tender enough to serve. This soup should be thick, but you can add stock so this reaches desired consistency. Depending on quality of dried beans, I've had batches take a really long time, and some that cook in 3 hours. I have also used un-soaked and soaked beans, and the cook time is only marginally longer (~40 min) when un-soaked. Add salt during cooking as desired!
Serving size: one bowl at a time
Recipe by the dinnervine at http://www.dinnervine.com/2014/10/black-bean-soup/