Sunday, October 2, 2011

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed "Crema"

This soup was so good, flavorful, and filling.  Got fiber?  This soup does!!!  Ha ha!  No, really, this soup was truly delicious and I enjoyed eating it (because eat it I did... for dinner one night w/the fam and then for a couple days afterward for lunch.... this makes a ton!)  Actually, the whole fam liked this.  Even my pickiest eater, who was put off at first by the appearnce (as he is with pretty much any food), took one taste and said "Yum!  That's good!  That's really, really good!"  Everyone ate this happily.  I served it with chopped cilantro and natural blue corn tortilla chips. 

The toasted cumin seed crema is good, too.  I can't get real creme fraiche here, and I didn't think ahead enough to make my own, so I just used full-fat sour cream thinned with some milk.  It worked very well.  I used about 1/2 cup sour cream and 1-2 tablespoons 1% milk.  If I were you, though, and had access to creme fraiche, I'd totally do that instead!

I chose to soak my beans overnight, because that always gives me better results in the crockpot.  When this had been cooking most of the day, it still looked watery and kinda weird, and the beans weren't as tender as I would have liked, but then, in the last 2 hours of cooking, it reached perfection.  So don't be nervous if this happens to you! 

I wanted to make this back when I first saw the recipe over at Eating, Etc but did not have any chipotles at the time.  My mom has since sent me some, so now I can make any chipotle recipes I want!  Thanks, Mom.  Since one only usually uses a little bit of a can at once, you can either freeze or save the rest in the fridge.  They last quite a while in the fridge, but for longer storage, I just plopped one pepper at a time with a bit of sauce onto a sheet of waxed paper and put on a baking sheet in the freezer.  Freeze until totally frozen, and then transfer to a Ziplock bag and label and freeze.  I froze half the leftover can this way, and kept the other half in a tiny Rubbermaid container in the fridge for use sooner. 

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup w/ Toasted Cumin Seed "Crema"
adapted from Eating, Etc.

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped (or one red, one yellow/orange)
4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
2-4 tsp ground cumin
16-20 oz dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight (remove any debris, pebbles)
1 Tbs. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce from a can, chopped
1 Tbs. adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)
8-9 cups hot water or low-sodium chicken broth, or a mixture of both
2-3 cups frozen fire-roasted or regular frozen corn
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
toasted cumin seed cream, for garnish (recipe below)
fresh cilantro, to taste, for garnish
crushed tortilla chips, for garnish

1) In large skillet, over medium-high flame, heat olive oil. Sauté onions & bell peppers until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.  Stir in garlic & cumin and sauté for 1 minute. Transfer to a 6quart slow cooker.

2) Mix in beans, chipotles, & hot water.  Cover & cook on high until beans are very tender, about 6-8 hours.
3) Transfer 2 cups of the bean mixture to blender & purée until smooth; return purée to slow cooker.  Stir in frozen corn and allow to heat through about 30 minutes.
4) Stir in lime juice, salt & pepper; adjust seasonings to taste.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with dollop of toasted cumin seed cream, & serve.

Toasted Cumin Seed Crema
(I made a half-recipe of this and it was just perfect)

2 Tbs whole cumin seed

1 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream thinned with a bit of milk)

1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) In small skillet, over medium heat, toast whole cumin seed until light golden brown.
2) Coarsely grind in spice grinder or with mortar & pestle.
3) Stir into crème fraiche; season with salt & pepper, to taste.

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