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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Local Bites with Lynchburg Living

I am really, really excited to be writing for Lynchburg Living. They have a beautiful publication, and can really showcase the food. Happy to share my first article with you!

Lynchburg Living's Local Bites

Originally Published Jan/Feb 2013


Winter soups are a given. On a cold, frosty night, there is nothing that can nourish you, body and soul, like a piping hot bowl of brothy goodness.

But instead of opening the closes can of chicken noodle, consider making your own yummy concoction. Homemade soup is not only more exciting, it’s often much tastier, too.

This Spicy Black Bean Soup is the perfect winter comfort meal. It’s savory, satisfying, and super healthy. It’s also a great dish for a big family or dinner party. Everyone gets a bowl, and they can make it their own by topping it with an infinite number of choices. Cool it down and give it a creamy richness by adding sour cream, crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, or avocado. Add some bite with chopped fresh white, red, or green onions. Up the comfort factor by mixing in shredded white cheddar or queso fresco. Give it crunch by sprinkling with sliced radish or jalapeno. Or add additional flavor with fresh lime juice, red wine vinegar, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve this soup alone, or on top of long grain white rice. Enjoy!


SPICY BLACK BEAN SOUP

Serves 6-8
Ingredients 
1lb bag dried black beans (alternatively, 6 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed)
salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sherry or dry white wine
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4-5 cups vegetable broth

Instructions
1. (Skip steps one and two if using canned beans). Place dried black beans in large pot along with twice as much cold water. Cover and soak overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
2. Drain beans, place back in pot and cover with fresh water and a handful of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
3. In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, sea salt and pepper. Sauté until edges begin to brown. Add sherry, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Stir to combine, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
4. Add vegetable broth and cooked (or canned) black beans. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Puree roughly one cup of soup in a blender and mix back into pot to thicken the soup. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
5. Serve in soup bowls topped with any combination of the suggested garnishes.

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