Saturday, February 21, 2009

Am I trying to be the Pioneer Woman? Never!

How to make "Laura's Black Bean Soup"
The Cast of Characters:
two cans of black beans, large sweet potatoes, jar of salsa, broth/stock/boullion, onion, garlic, olive oil

I am using my mother's old Le Creuset dutch oven that she so kindly handed down to me at my request. If I wasn't using my dutch oven, I would be using my mother's hand-me-downed heavy bottomed big stock pot. If I didn't have a heavy bottomed stock pot, I would continue in whatever big pot I had handy.
You will soon see that my cooking style is not very particular to rules.
I like it like that.

Heat up the olive oil in your pot in anticipation of the garlic and onions. How much olive oil did I use? I have no idea....I measure in splashes, dabs, and smidges. For some reason, I was concerned that I would forget to add the garlic (no squeezing the garlic in that little thing that makes your hands so smelly for this girl) so I just went ahead and stuck my 3 pieces of garlic into the cold olive oil. Remember, I'm not big on cooking rules.

Cut the onion. No, this is not my dirty countertop. Taylor made me a cutting board from a leftover piece of our new countertop. Some nights, I am really into chopping my vegetables really tiny. Some nights, I just give the veggies one good rough cut and call it done.

I went ahead and peeled and chopped the sweet potato. Since my sweet potato pile looked puny and I really do enjoy chopping vegetables, I went ahead and prepped a second sweet potato.

Once I think the olive oil is hot enough, I like to throw one piece of onion in the pot to see if it will sizzle. Tonight, I just dumped all the onion in at once and waited for the immediate sound of sizzling. There was no sizzle.

At this point, Taylor decided to come into my kitchen and start a debate about Israel so I gave him the job of browning the onions and garlic. As you can see, he did a very good job.
As Taylor tended the stove, I got my beef broth ready. I really like this jar of "Better Than Boullion" that Taylor bought at Kroger. Me? I never would have paid $6 for beef boillion but it is MSG free, which I do like. Last time I made this soup I used vegetable broth in a box. Next time, I will probably use the frozen chicken stock in my freezer. But tonight, I will demonstrate to you the wonders of "Better Than Boullion."
Yes, I know what you are thinking

7 minutes of microwaving later, we have beef boullion. So, Laura, how much stock/boullion/broth did you use? Well, I used one big bowl of water and one big spoonful of "Better Than Boullion."
Enough said.

Dump the liquid of your choice into your big pot of choice.

Rinse your two cans of black beans in a colander. Don't let any of that nasty canned bean juice into your delicious soup unless you want it to taste very unhomemade.

Add the beans.

How did I decide how much salsa to use? Well...I defininitely would have used the whole jar had Taylor not made a special run to the gas station, just this afternoon, to get us a big bag of chips to dip into our fancy organic salsa. So, I added just enough salsa in the soup so that we could still dip our chips later in the evening.

Add your sweet potato or two and give your soup a good stir.

Bring to a nice rolling boil.

Add the lid and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.en

If you like, top off your bowl of black bean soup with a dollop of sour cream, a shake of cheese, and a few green onions. I did and I liked it!

Personally, this soup is entirely too watery for my taste. Will I eat it for supper? Yes. I am extremely hungry. But personally, I prefer a nice thick stew. However, the best thing about homemade soup is that it just gets better with time. By lunchtime tomorrow, this soup will have magically become a thick stew.

Mmmmmm. Oopy goopy goodness.


AE said...

Laura, I make the same thing. To make it thick just mash up a bunch of the black beans. Mine tastes different every time too.

Marilyn said...

Like mother, like daughter. Canned diced tomatoes with whatever extras come in the can(s) is a great addition. I have also used refried black beans or red beans (fat free, Hah, Hah, Hah). I add all the juices, especially from the tomatoes. Also, used the salsa but didn't have any last time. Grilled sausage makes it yum, yum. And all of this together makes many, many meals over white (brown, for the healthy)rice and cornbread. And don't you dare not make the cornbread from scratch--no mixes, except use Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Self-rising Corn Meal. Only trick (had to call MY mother to find out why my cornbread didn't brown 30 years ago) is to put the tablespoon of Crisco (or bacon grease or any other congealed and saturated fat) in the pan in the oven that's heating to 425 or so degrees and when the oven gets ready, pull the pan out, swirl the fat around the bottom and quickly pour the grease into the mix and pour all into heated pan. 20 minutes later, beautiful browned perfectly cornbread. A half recipe is plenty for 4 people.

By the way, I told you sweet potatoes make you poot.

Marilyn said...

Sorry, should have used "are a great addition".

The Sherman Family said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your entry, but I LOVED reading your mom's comment about sweet potatoes. Marilyn rocks.