Saturday, December 6, 2008

Black Bean Soup

Hot off the presses! Hot of the stove actually. I just made the most amazing black bean soup!! It was so good I wanted immediately to tell the internets about it. Hopefully, some poor protein deprived soul will come across this and fill the bean shaped void inside. I was told about this recipe just last night by my pal Robin, so props to her for spreading the word via her mouth.

Black beans and black bean soup always remind me of National Cafe, a tiny Cuban restaurant that used to be on first avenue, where I spent large parts of my allowance in my youth. Or it would be a reward after going to the dentist or something and I'd eat from the side of my mouth that had feeling while food dribbled out the other. They made incredible beans, rice, stewed chicken and banana milkshakes. The day it closed a little part of myself was shuttered and hung with a 'for sale' sign, ya know?

But still I feel National Cafe's influence. Rice and beans, cooked in a variety of styles, is my comfort food. So Robin told me about this recipe and I was like well I don't have rice and I don't have beans, but I have all the other bits so I ran around the corner to my local friendly deli guy and bought a 99 cent can of Goya black beans and got down to business. Delicious comfort.

Recipe for vegetarian black bean soup:

Can o' beans
veggie stock or bouillon cube (you could make it non-vegetarian and add chicken stock or pork which is I'm sure what was going down at National Cafe, though I was blissfully uncaring)
a few scallions
couple cloves of garlic
healthy teaspoon of red cider vinegar (any kind would do except maybe balsamic)
tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
dash of black pepper
olive oil
optional, yet highly recommended: slices of avocado

Chop up your scallions and set some aside. Put the rest in a pot with a bit of olive oil and minced garlic. Cook them on low heat till they're soft. Open your can o' beans and rinse them then throw them in the pot when the garlic/scallions are ready. Add enough water (or stock) to cover the beans and set it to boil. When it's boiling add the bouillon unless you used stock. Add the cayenne and black pepper and stir. Turn the heat down to a simmer. At this point if you want to thicken it you can puree some of the beans and liquid then add it back in. I have a hand puree thing which is awesome. Add the vinegar and stir. Pour some in a bowl and squeeze in lemon juice. You don't need that much, use sound lemon judgement. Sprinkle the rest of the scallions on top and avocado slices and you have a bowl of heaven.

I don't have a picture of the soup because I ate it so fast, sorry. Make your own and you'll see how it looks.


I was thinking about this post the last couple days, because I'm a dork and I realized everything I espouse about eating locally and seasonally is kind of thrown out the window here. I mean-lemons? avocado? In New York? In December? That's fucked up. I guess beans could be worse, they are canned not refrigerated. No icy trucks to get them around but still, trucks. New York being the cultural capital that it is has many different cooking histories from every part of the globe and they all import their sensibilities and ingredients. Cuban cooking (though its pretty presumptuous to align my soup with Cuban cuisine) has infiltrated my personal tastes and I haven't yet gotten to the point where I can cast aside black beans because they don't grow in my back yard. What do you love that's out of season or from far away? What do you love that's only east coast?

1 comment:

Mike Lindgren said...

Mmm. Sounds yummy. Unfortunately I am guilty of eating all kinds of things that come from far away. My brother's company handles an account for GOYA beans so in a way you're helping support Alex - a true New Yorker!