I am craving sustenance from the ground. Colorful roots, leafs, legumes and other natural masterpieces that have spent months growing in the soil so we can tug them out, wash them off and cook them to perfection. Vegetables have been my food of choice since the holidays ended. Weeks were laden with delicious nibbles of sweets, fatty meats, creamy drinks, rich cheeses and wine. Lots of wine. Lots of boozy nights filled with frilly appetizers and loud music. There is a time and place for gourmandizing, and there is a time and place for cleansing grub like the recipes below.
Since time has been a scarce commodity I relished spending a few hours in the kitchen today. I found peace while rinsing, dicing, boiling, tasting and fine tuning. The black bean soup is soft and savory while the roasted plantain salsa provides the perfect balance of tart and sweet. This recipe can feed a family of four for at least 3 meals (with seconds).
The soup will taste even better tomorrow, and the next day… and the next day…
Prep time: 120 minutes
Nutrition information per serving: 162 cals, 2 fat, 15 protein
3 pounds dry black beans (cooked, rinsed, drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bell pepper, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
6 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoon paprika
8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
In a large stock pot, cook 3 lbs. (or 6 cups) of dried black beans in 6 quarts of salted boiling water until soft, about 60 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot on medium heat. Stir in bell pepper, celery, onion, carrots; cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in dry spices, salt and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and vegetable broth. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is simmering, cover and cook 45 minutes; stirring occasionally and removing impurities that float to the top.
Using a blender, puree half the soup and stir back in to the pot to create a creamy consistency. Add the cilantro and cook the soup uncovered until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Serve topped with avocado and roasted plantain salsa (recipe below)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Nutrition information per serving: 118 cals, 1 fat, .5 protein
3 ripe sweet plantains
1 tb olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered and seeded
2 tb fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tb sweet onion, finely diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and dice plantains in to small chunks. Toss in olive oil, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Spread evenly on to a greased baking sheet and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until caramelized. Allow to cool then toss with diced tomatoes, cilantro and onion. Salt and pepper to taste.