Yesterday, I introduced you to our week-long Full of Beans project. We made a big pot of black beans and set aside a little of the liquid from the pot for some of our recipes to use those beans.
Today, we're making one of the most satisfying bean recipes with our pot of black gold - black bean soup. That liquid you set aside when you made the full pot of beans will be put to good use here. It's loaded with black bean flavor and will serve only to intesify the flavor of the actual beans we use in this soup.
I've had a lot of black bean soups, thick and thin, spicy and lime-y. In my opinion, the best black bean soup should be spicy and hearty. You should finish your bowl of soup and either be sated or ravenous for the next course (if you didn't have enough of the soup). The soup recipe I present here is among the simplest, with aromatics and spicy chipotle chile bits enhancing but not hiding the flavor of the black beans.
If you've got prepared black beans in your refrigerator (or in a can, I suppose), you can have this dish on your table in under twenty minutes.
You'll finish this soup with a slight burn in your mouth (but not too much of one), and a full belly. If you like it spicy, add more chipotle chiles.
For absolute best results, have this for lunch on a cool autumn day on your balcony or deck with a nice beer or a margarita.
Black Bean Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, white and pale green part only
pinch of salt
2 cups water from a cooked pot of black beans ("bean juice") or vegetable stock
3 cups cooked black beans
1 chipotle chile in adobo
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano.
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
queso fresco or goat cheese to crumble over the soup when done.
Cut the root end off your leek. Split the leek lengthwise and wash it thoroughly under cold running water. Cut the leek into 1/2" slices across the width of the leek.
Chop the chipotle chile finely and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, heat your olive oil until it is just shy of smoking. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sautee the leeks until tender. Add the beans and bean juice (I love that phrase) or add stock if you don't have any bean juice. Add the chipotle. Add the oregano. Stir. Heat until soup is hot throughout.
Transfer the soup to a food processor or better, use an immersion blender. Blend the soup until thick and smooth. Return to the saucepan if you did the blending in a food processor. Add the half and half slowly while stirring untilt he soup is a lovely attractive purple/grey (it tastes better than it looks, really). Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Serve with a crumble of queso fresco over the top.