I think winter is here to stay, at least for the next few months. This means, bring on the soups! Black bean soup has become one of my absolute favorites and a mainstay in our household. I typically make a double or triple batch and freeze what we don't eat at dinner.
If you live in a snow-laden area of the world, than I wish you happy ski-ing [or snow shoeing, or skating, or snowman making, or broom-balling, snow angel-ing, or...ahh, winter]!
Black beans are such a wonderful food, I don't know where to begin. Okay, maybe I do. Black beans are so versatile you can use them in just about anything, including cookies and brownies [you can use black instead of garbanzo beans, as listed]. These little guys bring on the warm fuzzies and help to reduce damp conditions [think phlegm]. Not only that, they are a great source of soluble fiber [beans in general are one of the best sources on the planet]. Fiber in general, but specifically the digestible form, is something severely lacking the the SAD [Standard American Diet]. High fiber equates to lower risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Now I'll eat to that!
Kombu is actually a seaweed but trust me, there is nothing fishy about it. When added to a soup or any other dish that is simmered or slow cooked, it enhances the flavor and nutrients and generally dissolves into the soup during the cooking process [if, not it can easily be broken up]. When combined with beans, it helps to increase digestibility and reduce those not-so-nice side effects beans have unfortunately become synonymous with.
One note, if you are pregnant you should not eat kombu in excess as it reduces masses in the body [like tumors and cysts] and could lead to miscarriage.
Note: I believe this recipe may have been created by Terry Walters and can be found in either of her books Clean Start or Clean Food. If I'm wrong and it's yours, I apologize for not jotting down the recipe source [and have since become a bit smarter on that front]!
Lightly saute the following:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Add the following and saute 1 minute more:
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
Combine these remaining ingredients and the ones above in a crockpot:
6 c. cooked black beans [you can used canned or homemade here]
1 thumb size piece of kombu [optional]*
4 cups of vegetable stock or water
2 tsp. mirin or rice wine [optional]
1 tbsp. tamari
Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove 1/4 of soup and puree or blend just before serving. Mix in with the un-pureed soup.
You can also place all in a stock pot and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes if you are starting this later in the day.
Serve with 1/2 a sandwich or two slices of lightly toasted bread [I love this recipe but you can use store bought as well] dusted with a little salt, garlic granules, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It is also wonderful served with a salad.