Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bacon Black Bean Soup

The recipe I used to make this soup called it "Black Bean Soup," but such a name is disingenuous because it completely ignores the heavy bacon element of this soup, i.e. the element that takes this soup to another level.  I didn't exactly cut the bacon "finely" as the recipe instructed, and that means when eating this soup you get a big delicious piece of bacon in every bite.  What could be better than that?

This was a whole package of thick-sliced bacon.  Just about enough for one pot of soup.

The other ingredients that really make this soup delicious are the addition of cilantro and lime juice.  As far as I know, these aren't traditional in black bean soups, but they really add a bit of latin flavor to this filling soup.

One great thing about this soup is that it doesn't take long at all to cook.  But because you aren't cooking it for hours, the flavors aren't able to come together as fully as you would like.  I thought it tasted great on the first day, but it wasn't until I started eating the leftovers for lunch that I realized the soup could get even better by letting the flavors meld.  So when you make it, let it simmer for an extra hour if you have the time, or just know that leftovers on day two will really blow you away.

Correction: John would like me to point out that HE chopped the bacon because I find bacon semi-impossible to chop when it isn't separated into individual pieces.  That is all.  Carry on.  

Bacon Black Bean Soup
By Dave Lieberman

10 slices bacon, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14 1/2 oz.) 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 
1/2 lime, juiced

Place 10 slices of chopped bacon into a large pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon until the fat starts to render, about 4 minutes. Add 2 chopped onions and cook about 4 minutes, until they start to turn translucent.  Add 6 cloves pressed garlic and cook about 1 minute. Stir in the can of chicken broth, can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon chili powder. Stir in 4 cans of black beans, and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Add coarsely chopped cilantro to the soup and cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and serve.  If time permits, optionally cook the soup for another hour or so to let the flavors come together.

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