This afternoon I decided to make Dave Lieberman's Black Bean Soup. In addition to being perfectly suited for this time of year, it can be made almost entirely from items already in your pantry and freezes really well. (I like to freeze it in individual size portions that are easy to take to work for lunch).
I think everyone should have in their arsenal a couple of tried and true dishes that they can make on short notice . Let's face it, not every meal is ripe for trying out something new - sometimes I'm too hungry for something not to work out. Anyhow, for what it's worth, this dish is one of mine.
Word to the wise: don't skip the herbs or the lime. When I first started cooking,I frequently omitted herbs from my grocery list, thinking that they were merely *extras* used by people with a little extra cash. Au contraire. In this case, they really brighten up the flavors of the canned items from your pantry and add specs of color to a sea of black beans.
Here's a list of what you'll need:
10 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Grated cheddar, for garnish (optional)
As I mentioned, most of these are pantry-friendly items. I only needed to buy the cilantro and the lime.
First, cook the bacon over medium heat until it begins to render some of its fat, then add the onions. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Then add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, broth, beer, and tomatoes.
Last, but not least, I added the black beans, and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Just before serving, I added chopped cilantro and the juice of 1/2 a lime. When all was said and done, I stored in these lunch-sized containers and stuck them in the freezer, ready for whenever I need them.
The final product has a stew-like consistency, is a little smokey (thanks to the bacon), and yet has a little zip to it (thank you, lime). Enjoy!