Monday, October 22, 2007

Salinger's Soup

So I am completely horrified and mortified and all other types of -fied-liked things because last week, when making out (teehee--I wish) my lists of 5, I totally and completely left J.D. Salinger off my list, and seriously, it's like forgetting to name your head as a body part. He is, in fact, my *favorite* author, and yet somehow I totally forgot about him.

So to make up for this error, I have decided to name this soup after him. "Why," you ask? "I don't remember Salinger having a particularly large appetite for soup. Neither do I remember any of his characters mentioning soup at any point in his stories."

For shame, my friends. Clearly you have not read Salinger closely enough:

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff, black bean soup in one hand. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff, and without spilling my black bean soup - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. Other than a chef who cooks black bean soup."

--Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye

As Holden understood, and as you will too after trying out this recipe, this recipe is tasty enough that, even when (or particularly if) you're busy catching children so they don't go flying off the edge of a cliff, this soup is so good that you'll want to have a bowl nearby so you can dip into it every once in a while, since it takes a lot out of you to keep children from running off cliffs and whatnot.

  • 2 c. dry black beans

  • 2 T. baking soda

  • 4 c. water

  • 1 t. kosher or sea salt

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • 1 large red onion, diced

  • 1 rib of celery, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 T. cumin

  • 1 chipotle chile, minced

  • 1 t. adobo sauce from chipotles

  • 1 t. liquid smoke

  • 4 c. veggie broth

  • juice from one large lime

    • garnish with any:

      • cubed avocado

      • a dollop or swirl of vegan sour cream

      • diced tomatoes

      • cilantro leaves

      Soak beans overnight in 4 cups of water with baking soda. (Alternately, you can soak the beans whichever way you so choose--I did a fast-soak which was boiling them for like 20 minutes and then letting them soak for 2-3 hours.) Drain but don't rinse. Place beans, bay leaves, water, and salt in large pot. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Use a ladle to skim the gray scum off the surface, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, 45-60 minutes. Take off the heat and fish out the bay leaves. Set aside.

      In a 2 quart pot, heat oil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are tender and browning, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and add salt, garlic and cumin and cook for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in beans, bean cooking liquid, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, liquid smoke and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

      Ladle the scum off the the surface of the soup. Transfer 4 ladlefuls of broth only and 2 ladlefuls of beans only to the food processor or blender, process until smooth, and return to pot. Alternately, use a handheld blender to partially blend the soup in the pot. Stir in lime juice. Serve immediately with desired garnishes.

      (Original recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes)

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