Three things I am very obsessed with: my slow cooker, soup and fresh corn tortillas! I have made black bean soup quite a few times, but this is hands down, the best it has ever turned out.
Black Bean Soup
A big note about cooking times when using dried beans: The original recipe says 6 hours, smitten kitchen’s took 2 hours 45 minutes, mine took just over 4 hours. Not sure if it is a variation in the beans or slow cookers cook times.
Yields 6 main course servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (I only used 2 this time, as they were MASSIVE cloves)
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles from a can (this gives it a solid kick, dial back if you are wary, I LOVE spicy so I used even more than this)
7 cups hot water (I just used very hot tap water)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir one minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours. [See note up top.]
Transfer bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to the pot or a large serving bowl (the original recipe calls for just two cups of the soup to be pureed but I wanted a smooth and creamy soup this time). Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste; we found we needed more salt. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with diced avocado and chopped cilantro and green onions.
What goes better for dipping into your spicy black bean soup than warm, freshly made corn tortillas?? NOTHING. Being that I have an intolerance to gluten, I have found a love for corn tortillas and their many practical uses. They are delicious with soup, on tacos, for breakfast, the list just goes on and on. I would always get incredibly excited when I would go to a restaurant that made their own. Since so few did, I always assumed it was incredibly difficult or time consuming. Man, was I wrong. This was the first time I made them and it was a breeze. The most important thing to remember is that the more imperfect they are, the more “homemade” they look, so don’t stress about the perfection.
Yields 16 tortillas
2 cups masa harina (Mexican corn “flour” for making tortillas—Maseca brand is widely available in well-stocked groceries and Mexican markets)
1-1/4 to 1-1/3 cups of water
- Mix the Masa Harina and the water; knead to form your masa (dough), you will be able to tell if it needs more water.
- Roll the dough with your hands into a long cylinder and equally divide it into 16 pieces
- Take one of the 16 pieces and roll it into a ball with your hands
- Set the masa on a piece of plastic in the tortilla press; cover with another piece of plastic (at the time I made this, I didn’t yet have a tortillas press and I had to use a combination of a coffee can and a rolling pin)
- Press the masa
- Transfer the tortilla to a hot, dry skillet
- Cook for about 50 seconds on one side; gently turn
- Cook for about 50 seconds (it should puff slightly); turn back to the first side and cook a few seconds longer if you think you need it. You’ll probably have to play with the time a bit to get it right.
- Remove and keep the tortilla warm in a tortillas warmer or on a cookie sheet in the oven (set to 250°F)
Here are some of the yummies we made in the days after with the corn tortillas. Veggie tacos with avocados, tomatoes, limes, lettuce, cilantro and green onions and a side of mexican rice (I am still perfecting that recipe so I will post it when I am happy with it).
And a quick egg taco for a tasty and fast breakfast. Just fry an egg quick, put it on a warm tortilla and top with cilantro, green onions, salt and pepper and whatever else you’d like. One of my favorites.