Shortly after bringing home my son Jude from the hospital, a package arrived in the mail. The return address on the package indicated it was from Trendy Traditions. Now if I hadn’t been recovering from a c-section, I would have jumped up and down in excitement because I knew … I just knew … that whatever was inside would make me smile. And boy did it ever. If you aren’t familiar with Trendy Traditions, now is the perfect time to learn more. TT is the work of husband and wife, Joseph & Melanie Gillespie, and they offer stunning made-to-order rosaries. But don’t just take my word for it; check out their online shop here. Good stuff, Maynard!
And speaking of good stuff, I’m so thrilled that Melanie, AKA the Rosary Chick, agreed to join our Soup & Stories series today. She shares a recipe for a resilient and delicious black bean soup that’s sure to become a new favorite here at Das Schmidt Haus. Spoons up!
Black bean soup had not touched my lips until I made this recipe, and no other has compared since. Eight years ago, while still making my career in finance, a coworker was expecting a baby. A few of us decided to throw a baby shower on what turned out to be a chilly February evening. The host asked if I would make black bean soup and she passed along this recipe.
Over the years, I’ve modified it, and the thing I love best is how resilient it is no matter how much I tweak the ingredients according to what might be missing from my cupboard or how many folks I’m trying to feed. Another thing that I like about the recipe is how it calls for canned goods that can easily be substituted for fresh. So if I’m in a rush, canned. If I have the time, fresh. Friday during Lent? Leave out the bacon, still yummy! (Let’s face it, without bacon, it’s a *little* less yummy.) Like I said, resilient.
And delicious. I always make this for a crowd and receive numerous requests for the recipe. Not “in passing requests,” but track-me-down and keep-asking-till-they-get-it requests.
Now, I’ve made this soup at least a hundred times and served it to as many people or more over the years and passed along the recipe too. We live in the Bible belt/L.A. (Lower Alabama)/Redneck Riviera, take your pick, but the bottom line is there aren’t many Catholics. My husband and I were tickled when a sweet southern Baptist lady asked with all sincerity about why we’d need to put beer in the soup. It never phased me, but if the beer bothers you, feel free to leave it out.
Seriously, it’s super hearty and packed full of flavor. Don’t underestimate its appeal to children either. Mine love it!
Prep time is about 15-20 minutes and cook time is about 20-30 minutes, then as long as you want it to simmer. The hardest part is chopping the raw bacon. I suggest placing it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to firm it up before working with it.
Black Bean Soup (download recipe here)
1 pack of bacon (at least 10 strips), finely chopped
3 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 can (14 1/2-ounces) of reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups canned of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of ketchup
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 bottle or can of your favorite beer
4 cans (each 15 1/2-ounces) of black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 bunch cilantro (my favorite!)
Juice of 1 lime
Thinly sliced scallions
Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the can of beer. Adjust the heat so that the soup is bubbling gently and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and, once the soup has been simmering 10 minutes, stir in the cilantro. Cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.
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Read all Soup & Stories entries here.