I swear any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin...
.... never calls for the whole can. Why is that? Same goes for canned beans. A few tablespoons of black beans on some salads and in a few rice dishes and alas, 1/2 a can of black beans ends up chilling out next to my 1/2 can of pumpkin.
I know the last few posts around here have been pumpkin biased based. In my defense, this first one was tested during primo baking season of mid-December. But this one was just the other day. And because I get nervous about any canned food once its been opened, it was time to do a fridge inventory and see which 1/2 cans would marry best together. In the end, black bean and pumpkin seemed like great soup-mates to me.
I am a consistency person. Both in conformity of application (I like when my favorite dishes at a restaurant don't change) and texture (I don't particularly like lumpy/mushy things in my liquids. Bubble tea is a serious mystery to me) Black bean soup is a favorite for a couple of reasons. A dear friend and I would always order it at a regular hangout back home in Alberta. We were young and it was cheap & filling and, we naively thought, healthy. I suspect now it was not the third. It was always the same and it had a smooth velvety texture that warmed you from the inside out. That was, brace yourself, 20 years ago. And I still love black bean soup. I love it even more now that when said hangout dropped it without warning (harsh), I found a healthy way to make it that still passed the consistency test.
The other thing I love about a healthy, home made black bean soup is you can add guilty pleasures on top. I put just about anything I would put on a plate of nachos...a little sour cream or queso fresco, some spicy salsa or pico de gallo, shredded chicken, green onion, fresh tomato, or even a few nachos themselves. It perks it up without a ton of caloric bulk.
The key to a really smooth texture is a good quality immersion blender and a quart size wide mouth mason. And keep blending. Like for a long time. Longer. Longer. Now jussssst a minute longer. We won our immersion blender years ago (way to go Mr!) but I really never used it much. I did use my blender (a wedding gift that is still going strong thank you E & K!) and my bullet but never pulled out the immersion blender much at all. Times have changed. I saw my mother in law pour her minestrone soup into a jar and blend it up for Little when he was just starting solids and it worked perfectly. The Mason jar is great because it can withstand the heat of the soup and there is zero splash factor. Yes, it's one more dish to wash but beats the heck out of washing back splash, stove tops and my "good" hoodie. The soup churns over and over and you end up with a very silky consistency.
I highly recommend this soup on a cold winter today alongside a slightly chilled glass of red wine soda water. And just like my memories of sharing soup with an old friend....
...I promise it will warm you from the inside out. (with the added bonus of no leftover 1/2 cans)
Smooth & Smoky Black Bean Pumpkin Soup 1 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup chopped white, mild onion
2 cans (15 oz) organic black beans
1 can (15 oz) diced or whole organic tomatoes
1 box of organic, unsalted chicken or veggie broth
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 T. dark balsamic vinegar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (definitely not pumpkin pie filling)
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic & onions in olive oil until onions are translucent.
2. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the onion & garlic mixture.
3. Add the tomatoes (do not drain), the broth, spices and balsamic vinegar. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add the pumpkin. Stir until combined. Transfer in batches to a wide mouth mason jar and using an immersion blender, blend until desired consistency. If you blend for several minutes, it will become velevety smooth.
5. Return to stove to reheat and serve immediately or transfer to ziplocks and lie flat to freeze.
6. Garnish with sour cream, feta cheese, queso fresco, salsa, pico de gallo, tortilla chips or fresh cilantro.