Tag Archives: soup

Smoky Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

Smoky black bean soup

Spring may be upon us, but for me that means long hours at work, and not a whole lot of time to cook. In fact, I’m lucky if I have a moment to myself between getting home and my head hitting the pillow, so while everyone else is starting to grill up a storm, I’m spending my weekends making meals that yield a ton of leftovers that reheat well. Such is the life of someone working in financial services during tax season!

Smoky black bean soup

This soup fits the bill of both easy to make in massive batches, and perfect for leftovers. All the ingredients are staples in my pantry, so while it might take some planning (especially with dried beans), once I have the pot on the stove, I know I’ll have lots to feed myself and the kids on crunch nights when I don’t have a lot of time after a long day in the office.

Smoky black bean soup

Smoky Black Bean Soup

1 lb dried black beans (or 3 15oz cans)
Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
12 oz flavourful sausage {I used moose salami}
1 small head of garlic, minced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup beer or white wine
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper

Soak black beans overnight. Drain, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, until just tender. {Or skip this step completely and use 3 15oz cans of black beans!}

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil and cook onion and carrots until onions are translucent and carrots are tender about 8-10 minutes. Add sausage and cook a few more minutes, until sausage is browned. Add garlic and chipotle peppers, stir and cook for another 30 seconds. Add spices, stir to coat. Deglaze your pot with a generous splash of beer or white wine.

Pour in the rest of the beer, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock, and add beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

Partially blend with an immersion blender to thicken the soup. Season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve with a dollop of avocado cream {recipe below}.

Avocado Cream

1 avocado
2 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp greek yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice

Mash the avocado, and whisk in remaining ingredients. Make immediately before serving, as it will discolour a little over time {but that doesn’t affect the taste!}

For other ideas on how to make your life more delicious, visit the Life Made Delicious page for inspiration!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation. The opinions in this blog are my own.

Carrot Apple Soup

Carrot Apple Soup

Spring comes late in the prairies. We get a glimpse of it early, but we are then quickly swept back into winter with frosty mornings and icy winds that take your breath away. While everyone else is getting the first green glimpses of spring, the Canadian prairies are still bitterly cold for the most part. And for me, nothing warms me up faster than a bowl of thick, hearty, homemade soup.

Carrot Apple Soup

A soup like this gets its heartiness from carrots and apples cooked to tender perfection and puréed into velvety smoothness. There’s no cream, and really no significant fat to speak of other than the initial bit to lubricate the pan while sautéing the vegetables. It’s a nice healthy way to stay warm on a chilly not-quite-spring day, and get a good-sized serving of vegetables in. My kids even like it, this is one of their favourites and frequently requested by my five year old when she’s in the mood for soup.

Carrot Apple Soup

If you like your food spicy, too, this soup can benefit from a good amount of heat. The red pepper flakes are completely optional, so if your family doesn’t like the heat, omit them. My husband always likes to take the spiciness a step further and finish his bowl off with a squirt of sriracha, too. And this recipe is easily doubled {or tripled} and freezes really well. I usually make a batch much larger than the recipe below, usually two or three times as much, and I freeze it in both individual and family-sized portions for a quick meal on one of our crunch nights, or for lunches for taking to work.

Carrot Apple Soup

Carrot Apple Soup
(adapted from Joy The Baker)

1 head garlic
1 Tbsp coconut oil {or olive oil} + more for roasting garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp red pepper flakes {optional}
1 large apple, washed, cored and roughly chopped {not peeled}
1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp allspice
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Chop the top off the head of garlic and place on a square of foil. Top with a smear of coconut oil {or a drizzle of olive oil}, seal up in foil, and roast until fragrant and golden, ~1 hour. Squeeze garlic out of its papery sheath and set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, 5 minutes or so.

Add the ginger and roasted garlic, and cook for another minute.

Add carrots and apples to the pot, and cook for 3-4 minutes more, until apples begin to soften.

Add chicken or vegetable stock, and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

In small batches, transfer to a blender a blend until smooth. {Tip: don’t over-fill your blender, or hot soup may explode out of it!} Return to pot over low heat. Add more broth if required, or if you prefer a thinner soup. Stir in allspice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a drizzle of a seasoned oil – chile or roasted garlic are my favourites.

Yield: ~5 cups, or about 4 servings.

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Roasted Squash, Bean & Spinach Soup

Well, it finally happened. After 18 consecutive days of blog posts for NaBloPoMo, I finally missed a day. And then I missed another. In my defense, it has been a rough week. I’ve been really distracted with my mom’s health scare and dealing with my own feelings about it, so I haven’t had a whole lot of motivation to sit down and bust out blog posts. Also, with winter in full swing, it’s making my food photography rather difficult. I only really have quality light between about noon and 3pm, so that nixes an awful lot of what I’ve been making lately! I need to figure out an artificial lighting set-up, but that has been a low priority right now.

Anyway, enough with the excuses! I’m blogging today, and I happen to have a really delicious recipe to share. One of my favourite parts about the cold weather months is the food. Soups and stews and casseroles galore – true comfort food. Butternut squash is one of my favourite fall vegetables, it’s the perfect starting point for a thick and hearty soup. Butternut squash carries so many flavours beautifully – curry, maple, coconut, rich herbs like thyme and sage… really, there’s not a lot that doesn’t pair well with it! This soup is yet another Pinterest inspiration – this Butternut Squash & White Bean soup recipe by LuSa Organics has been in the back of my mind for a little while now, and it just made it onto the menu plan this week. And like every other recipe, I used LuSa’s recipe as just a starting point, an inspiration to get my culinary juices flowing, and I adjusted things along the way to suit my own pantry contents and preferences.

If you want to make this soup vegetarian, or just don’t want to use bacon, use coconut oil, olive oil, or another fat of your choice. This recipe can very easily be adapted to being completely meat-free, but given my great love of bacon, clearly I haven’t gone that route!

Roasted Squash, Bean & Spinach Soup
(adapted from LuSa Organics)

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp aromatic herbs – I used rosemary and thyme
salt & pepper
3 cups soaked & cooked navy beans (~1 cup dried)
1/2 pound bacon
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
White wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
A couple fistfuls of spinach, cut into ribbons
Water, as needed

Start by roasting your squash. Preheat your oven to 400F. Toss the prepared squash cubes with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking pan and roast for 40-50 minutes, turning gently halfway through. (This can be done well in advance, I usually do it in the morning on the day I want to make the soup.) Set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside to drain on a paper towel, keeping the bacon fat in the pot. When the bacon has cooled, crumble or cut it into small pieces.

Over medium heat, add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook another 30 seconds. Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine, scraping up all the yummy bacony goodness off the bottom of the pot.

Add cubed squash and beans, and add enough stock to cover. Bring to a simmer and add seasonings. Add water or more stock a bit at a time if the soup seems too thick, and spits when it simmers. Using an immersion blender, give the soup a few pulses to blend it up a bit for a smoother texture, but still leave lots of beans intact. Alternatively, you can remove some of the soup to a blender and puree it, and add it back to the pot.

Stir in spinach, and let simmer a couple more minutes, until the spinach has fully wilted. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with bacon crumbled over top.

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