Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Black Bean (Pumpkin) Soup

I've had this recipe saved since June and have been waiting for the right time to make it. I had one can of pumpkin left in my pantry and I was either going to make yeasted chocolate-chip pumpkin bread or black bean pumpkin soup...but, considering all of the dessert I've had over the past week (lemon icebox pie and banana bread at Mel's, pumpkin cream cheese cupcake from Jess, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and rum cake on Thanksgiving, and M&M's at the LSU/Arkansas game...they weren't lucky this week!) I decided to go with the soup.

I put the pumpkin in parenthesis in the title because you won't even know its in the soup...you can't taste it (Hilary, who hates pumpkin, has eaten the soup twice and hasn't suspected a thing). It adds a thickness to the soup that makes it so rich and creamy...but there is no cream and the soup is very low-fat (4 g per 1 cup).

Things to know about beans:

1) they are a great source of fiber (15 g per cup...60 % of daily value), protein (15 g per cup), and folate...something women in child-bearing years need in order to prevent certain birth defects (64 % of daily value per cup)

2) they are high in carbohydrates, but don't be scared low-carb dieters...these are complex carbohydrates - the kind that are digested and released into your bloodstream more slowly which helps stabilize blood sugar levels (and may help with weight management)

3) the high levels of fiber help stabilize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, prevent constipation and other digestive disorders (IBS and diverticulosis)

4) they are rich in antioxidants, and the darker the skin the better...so black beans are extra rich!

So eat up...beans are so good for you!

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
adapted from Epicurious.com

Makes 9 1-cup servings

2 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
1 large onion, chopped
1 shallot minced (you could omit this)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
three 15 ½ ounce cans (or two 25 ounce cans) black beans (about 4 ½ cups), rinsed and drained
1 cup canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 cups beef broth
one 15 ounce can pumpkin pureĆ© (about 1 ½ cups)
½ cup dry Sherry (or any dry white wine)
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (optional)

In a 6-quart dutch oven or other large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a blender (or food processor), blend half of each of the following: beans, tomatoes, beef broth, and pumpkin. Once the onions have softened and the garlic and seasonings have been added, add the first batch of the bean mixture. Repeat with the remaining beans, tomatoes, beef broth, and pumpkin; add to the soup pot.

Add the sherry (if using), stir to combine, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, stir in the vinegar. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve soup as is or garnished with light sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt.

Per 1-cup serving - 300 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 49 g carbohydrates, 16 g fiber, 17 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 protein, 3 starch, ½ vegetable)

Notes - The recipe originally called for 4 tablespoons of butter, but I only used 2. It also called for ½ pound of diced ham, but I left it out...I figured I was getting enough protein from the beans. The dry sherry could be omitted or you could substitute any dry (i.e. not sweet) white wine. Serve ½ cup portions as a side dish or 1 to 1-½ cup portions as an entree. I froze half of the soup in 2 cup servings to reheat on a night when I don't have time to or feel like cooking.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, I agree completely. I made the soup, too, and chose to leave out the ham. I've got a serving or two frozen in zip-loc bags for a snowy day! OH wait, I live in Houston...I mean, a day when I'm craving beans!