First – Make the black bean paste. Use these instructions. Refrigerate after cooling.
Second – Make the basic black bean soup, to which you can add corn or other vegetables later (or not).
- Dice to about a 1/4 cup each: red bell pepper, onion, tomatoes. Mince 1 or 2 cloves garlic. (Or use a garlic press.)
- Simmer vegetables in about a cup of water until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add about a cup of bean paste, 3 or 4 tablespoons tomato sauce, a teaspoon tamari, and spices. It should be thick.
- Stir well. Bring back to a slow simmer, about 5 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Refrigerate after cooling.
Third – Steam, boil, or otherwise cook the corn – fresh, frozen, canned, whatever you have. For a single serving, I toss a few tablespoons frozen corn into a small pot, cover with water, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add as much of the basic black bean soup as you feel like eating. Thin to desired consistency. Heat. Season. Serve.
- I’ve tried making a black bean paste with canned beans and never had success. Many times the dried beans won’t make a paste either. And sometimes they have, as Harold McGee terms it, “hard to cook defect,” meaning they stay hard no matter how long you cook them.
- I don’t use any fat or oil in this recipe. Many people saute the onions and peppers in oil.
- I use a lot of spices. Most you’d find in any off-the-shelf chili powder – onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano. I add a touch more cloves and some dry mustard and allspice too. Not a lot!
- The third part above makes this like eating fast food. It all comes together in less than 10 minutes. The work is in the first two steps.
- The background of this soup is like melted chocolate. Same color, same consistency. It’s really good, but you have to find a fresh bean. The bag I’m using now was pure luck!
- The more you eat beans, the less gas you’ll have. I promise.