Imagine if you will……a bright , sunny , crisp morning, everything is right with the world , you roll out of bed, walk downstairs ready to take on the day and then step onto a freezing cold floor !!!!!! Talk about a wake up call !! No amount of hot coffee, socks and sweaters could make me warm……now I have to tell you my daughter was in a sleeveless dress and the boys were in shorts …..apparently their threshold for cold is lot more than mine !!! Winds make it so chilly that even standing outside for five minutes was impossible !! Now, it certainly wasn’t like Canada where even walking outside to get mail or throw trash resulted in frostbite but for Atlanta it was bad !!!!
Now when something like his happens here in Atlanta, since we have snow or freezing cold once a year or maybe once in 2 years, we are not equipped to deal with it , let alone the polar vortex !!!! Schools find it easier to close !!! So with the schools closed, I was stuck at home with kids who had to go to their friend’s house to play ,which of course entailed taking the car out and driving down to their houses …..two houses down from us !!!! What is one to do……I say if life hands you lemons, you make lemonade…..if life hands you the polar vortex in the southern US, you make soup !!!!
Now, I certainly wasn’t about to go to the store to get any ingredients so it had to be something I could make with stuff I had but my fridge was bare …..so off to the pantry it was . Luckily for me , I had 2 cans of black beans so Black Bean soup it is but how do you make interesting and not run off the mill ??? I remembered that I had some chipotle in adobo left over after I made black bean burgers ………..recipe for another day !!! So Chipotle Black Bean Soup it was. While I am certainly not the first person to think this up, this is certainly the first time I have made it !!!
V is not one for sour cream or even a dollop of yogurt on his soup……he does not even eat Tomato Soup ‘coz its creamy !!! I do not understand it but it doesn’t bother me so I just work around it . My solution this time, top the soup with a fruit salsa !!! Again, a search of the pantry yielded a can of mandarin oranges so Orange and Red Onion Salsa with a Chipotle Black Bean Soup was dinner that night !!! A vegan Black Bean soup that is so flavorful and delicious, enlisting help from ingredients like chipotle, cocoa and citrus !!
Chipotle gives a smoky flavor and also light spice to the mellow black beans. It makes the soup sing….not that the other ingredients don’t but this is the star !!! I am not a fan of smoked anything, but chipotles I find pleasant when combined with something else !!! This soup is vegan, the thickness coming from the beans itself !!! I also used cumin, which adds an earthy aroma quite unlike any other . The cocoa adds a dark, slightly bitter note. It adds complexity to the soup. I also used paprika to give it warmth rather than the bracing heat of red chili flakes, you can use whichever you prefer. I am not going to sit here and say that the spices make all the difference since the aromatics……..onions, garlic, carrots and cilantro add freshness. While I am happy to eat my soup with a dollop of sour cream to add a tang and creaminess , I have to say the salsa made an everyday soup taste different and exotic…….the oranges and red onion added both a sweetness and freshness that take it over the top !!! I added just a little lime juice to make it tangy as well.
One good thing resulted from the polar vortex……..beans, vegetables and fruits transformed into a silky, soft , spicy, sweet and flavorful soup !!!!!
CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN SOUP WITH ORANGE AND RED ONION SALSA
2 cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Bay leaf
¼cup finely chopped Onion
¼cup finely diced Carrots
¼cup finely diced Green Peppers
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Chipotle in Adobo, finely chopped plus 1 tsp. sauce
1 tbsp. Cocoa powder
1 ½tsp. ground Cumin
Salt to taste
2 cups Vegetable Stock /Water
Sauté the onions in the oil till soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Now add the veggies and sauté for another 5 minutes or until the veggies are softened.
Add the chipotle, cumin, paprika, bay leaf and salt. Sauté for a minute.
Now add the drained black beans and stock. Partially cover and cook on a medium low heat for 15 minutes.
Remove 2 cups of soup and blend. Pour back into the pot ad mix well. You can immersion blender instead.
Add the cocoa and heat through for another minute.
Remove and serve with either salsa or sour cream .
Orange and Red Onion Salsa:
1 can Mandarin Orange segments drained or 2 Oranges, segmented
¼cup finely chopped Red Onion
4 tbsp. finely chopped Cilantro
1 Thai Green Chili, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. Lime Juice
Mix together all the ingredients.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving.