Lately my head has been spinning in about 1,000 different directions. I don’t know what happens when your brain goes off on its own, but mine has led me down some weird rabbit holes. My keys have taken what seems to be a permanent vacation, my body is listening when my brain tells it to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning, I baked one of my polypropylene cutting boards onto a burner and I realize that I have to have black bean soup for dinner, that night, when it’s already 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
Ordinarily, deciding the dinner entree at that hour would be a God send (that’s early for me), but with only bags of dried beans in the house I had to think a little bit to figure out how we would be able to eat that night. Not to mention I had about 2 hours of errands to run, since I had been traveling for the previous 10 days. At this point, Craig would have been happy with takeout pizza or burritos, but I just couldn’t do another restaurant meal. I wanted something that I could be sure would taste good. (I had not had good luck during this road trip with food, including a small bout of food poisoning – YUCK)
My favorite black bean soup recipe is based on the recipe found in my dogeared copy of the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. But it calls for soaking the beans for at least 4 hours and I just didn’t have that kind of time. So I broke out the slow cooker (crockpot) to get the beans going. I didn’t throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker, because I didn’t want them to get mushy. It worked out great – errands run, home cooked meal, Craig fed (but we all knew that would happen whether I provided the food or Taco Bell catered his dinner), and I finally got a good night’s sleep. Now if I could only find my keys.
Sometimes good enough is not enough. When your significant other says “whatever is easiest is fine,” that’s when you need to step it up a bit beyond “easiest.” This isn’t to say you have to go all over the top, but putting in a little bit extra goes a long way in their mind. Maybe you’re not making dinner (tsk tsk – after all, you are reading this food blog) and you’re coming home from work and picking up takeout. Take the time to make one more stop and pick up their favorite beer or wine to go with the food. Just this one little extra step will be noticed and appreciated.
Makes 6-8 Servings
- 1 Pound Bag of Dry Black Beans
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 6 Cups Water
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 Cups Onion (diced)
- 2 Medium Carrots (diced)
- 1 12 Ounce Package Soyrizo
- 1 Cup Orange Juice
- 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
- Roasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Avocado (diced)
Place the beans, cumin and garlic powder into the slow cooker and add water. Turn heat to high setting, cover and let sit for 3 hours.
In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and carrots. Saute until carrots just start to soften. Keep stirring so that onions become translucent with only slightly brown edges. Add soyrizo to the pan. Keep over heat just until the soyrizo is heated through. Add contents of saute pan to the beans in the slow cooker and thoroughly combine.
Stir in orange juice and lime juice. Add salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
Cover and let cook for at least 30 minutes longer.
If a smoother soup is desired, use a stick blender or food processor to puree amount of soup desired.
Top with cilantro, yogurt/sour cream, salsa and pepitas.