So, earlier this steamy July week, a cold front had blown into town, and it was glorious. Rain, daytime highs in the 70’s and 80’s… it was almost like fall. So, I made this week’s dinner plans to resemble autumnal goodness, and then the weather came to its senses. Bam, back to 90’s and above. Alas, I had already planned and shopped, and now Mama’s gotta make (and eat) spicy soups. Oh well! 😀
Black bean soup, ensemble cast: cumin, onion, cayenne pepper, red and green bell pepper, salt & pepper, black beans, and OJ. Not pictured: garlic. D’oh!
Soak your beans the night before, or you can do a quick & dirty soak the day of by boiling your rinsed beans in 8 cups of water, removing from heat, then letting them sit with the lid on for 1 hour. Then, you drain and rinse the beans and go on about your business.
Get the other veggies cut up, then place everything in your crockpot.
Sharky and Julius (who are full of salt and pepper) checking out the soup before it gets put on.
Sharky: “I say, my dear gnome, that girl is mental! Bell peppers, cayenne and black pepper?!? Egads, man!!!
Julius: “Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man… Relax. Go gather some nuts.”
Sharky and Julius approve.
Even though it was over 90 that day, I didn’t care because the soup was so good. The beans soaked up all the spices and it was really nice, the spices weren’t overwhelming. The cornbread was a last-minute addition, but I’ll share the recipe for it too. I had one bowl of soup, but ate 3 pieces of cornbread that night. Now you can’t say I never did anything for you. 😉
- 2 cups dry black beans, soaked
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 or more cloves of garlic, minced/pressed
- 1 diced green bell pepper (you can do half a green and half a red if you want, it looks nice)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups orange juice (I know, I know... trust me)
- black pepper and cayenne to taste
- Soak your black beans overnight. (OR rinse/sort beans, place in big pot with 8 cups warm water, bring to active boil for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and cover to sit for an hour. Rinse again and proceed.)
- Rinse and put in crock pot with 4 cups of water.
- Add all other ingredients and set crock on high for 6+ hours.
- Adjust flavors as you see fit. :)
Sweet, sweet cornbread
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Cream together butter and sugar for a ridiculously long time, until it’s so light and fluffy you could nap on it. (5-7 minutes)
- Combine the eggs and milk in a smallish bowl, and the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in another.
- Alternate adding egg mixture and flour mixture to the creamed butter/sugar, mixing well after each addition.
- Get it all in the bowl and mixed well (lumps are inevitable, but try for as few as possible).
- Pour into a greased 9×9 baking dish, pop into a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.