Black bean soup had been on my mind for quite some time. I had seen delicious versions at Noob Cook and at A Southern Grace, and I kept thinking about how I needed to buy a big bag of beans and make some soup. I finally did that and used some of those beans for tostaditas as well. This particular black bean soup is from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and it’s very much just about the beans themselves. It’s a simple soup with no spicy edge and minimal garnishes, but it is pointed up with Madeira and enriched with cream. Sadly, it’s not a very pretty-looking soup, but I seem to have a knack for cooking up unphotogenic bowls of goodness.
To begin the soup, onion, celery, carrot, diced green bell pepper, bay leaves, chopped rosemary, and thyme were sauteed in butter. Tomato paste was added and briefly cooked before the beans were placed in the pot and covered with water. This was left to simmer until the beans were tender. Salt was added, the bay leaves were removed, and then two-thirds of the soup was pureed. The puree was added back to the pot and stirred into the remaining soup. I liked this result of varied textures with some thickness from the puree and some whole beans. At this point, a half cup of Madeira and a half cup of cream were added. I served the soup with a little crema and some chopped parsley.
I, of course, love black beans prepared in a southwestern style with lots of fresh and dried chiles, but this simpler approach was a nice change of pace. The herbs and vegetables provided a foundation for the flavor of the beans, and the Madeira brightened it up. Naturally, cream never hurts a dish, and here it made the puree seem even smoother. It sounds so basic because it’s just black bean soup, but this is surprisingly flavorful and filling and deliciously so.