Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Black Bean Soup with Asparagus

This is a very fast, flexible and easy soup to make; it's also good to make without the asparagus, or perhaps with some other green vegetable added. Leafy things are best I think; I don't see peas or green beans being quite right. Spinach maybe, or kale, chard or rapini. Something with that slightly bitter quality greens can have, to counteract the smooth richness of the black beans and the spiciness of the salsa. Actually, this is very good without any vegetable at all, and as such could be served all year.

The salsa/tomato/vegetable cocktail componant of the soup is, obviously, quite flexible. I used a mixture of half and half my own home-canned salsa and canned diced tomatoes. My preference would be for that, or for the vegetable cocktail. If you only have plain canned tomatoes, I would suggest adding a green onion and a slice of celery, cut up and sautéd with the cumin. Actually, get them started a few minutes before the cumin then add it at the last minute - it cooks quickly.

4 servings
20 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Black Bean Soup with Asparagus

1 540-ml (19 ounce) tin black beans
2 cups prepared salsa, or crushed or diced tomatoes,
or vegetable cocktail, or some combination thereof
1 scant tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
1 to 1 1/2 cup packing water, water, broth or asparagus cooking water
250 gram (1/2 pound) asparagus

Drain the beans, but save the packing liquid to thin the soup. Put the beans in a blender with the salsa or other tomato stuff.

Crush the cumin seed and cook it in a small skillet in the oil, until it sizzles and you can smell it. Add it to the blender. Add about 1/2 cup bean packing liquid, water or broth. Purée until very smooth.

Put the soup into a pot and heat it over medium heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Cut off the tips, then cut the rest of it into fairly small pieces, about the same in length as the asparagus is thick. Cook the asparagus in a separate pot until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Fish out the tips and use them to garnish the soup. Put the rest of the asparagus into the soup, and thin it with some of the asparagus cooking water if it is too thick. Test and adjust the seasonings - watch the salt; some of the ingredients called for can have quite a bit. A little pepper may be all that's needed. Serve the soup when it is hot, garnished with the asparagus tips.


Kevin said...

I like the sound of this black bean, salsa and green vegetable soup.

Gato Azul | Chat Bleu said...

nice recipe! I've finally gotten to awarding the awards

giz said...

I had a black bean soup in the Caribbean that was second to none and have always wanted to have a recipe for one - love it...thanx

Sue said...

This looks delicious! I think I'll make it tonight.

I just stumbled upon your blog and it's fantastic. Keep up the good work!