The soup comes together in three parts, on different days, because I don’t have the luxury of time to make it all at once. Although, that means you can do a lot of things with it.
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.
I’ve been making the bean paste ever since you shared it with us in previous posts. Have you ever tried it in a slow cooker thereby eliminating the soak? Realizing soaking the beans does not entail lots of effort, I wondered if the consistency might be different somehow especially if the beans are old. Or if they’re old, both a soak and the slow cooker. Think I’ll give it a try. Have not yet tried black beans nor limas, your photos are telling me to get busy.
I used to use a slow cooker, a crock pot, years ago. I don’t recall why I gave up on it. I remember I had to leverage a toothpick under the lid to allow steam to escape, or it would hiss and bubble water all over the place. Well, maybe it wasn’t a fancy dancy one? I do think a slow cooker could get you close to paste without soaking the beans. I think you’d still have to mash them with the back of a spoon near the end.
A pressure cooker I did try. I also gave up on it. It left the beans intact, so I’d still have to cook them further, it was a lot of washing up, and it lent an overcooked taste that I didn’t care for. It did, however, reduce the cooking time.
FWIW – I’m a pressure cooker fan. Given a little more time than I would usually cook them, I can get a pretty good paste out of the different dried beans I’ve tried.
I should note that the material your pressure cooker is made of seems to make a difference on how it cooks. I’ve had very poor results with stainless, but aluminum has done very well for me.
Because I cook beans every day, or at least try to!, I usually have something ready in the rotation that I can make soup from in a hurry.
As to storage, the paste, especially if it’s quite dry, lasts almost a week in the fridge. The soup, not so long.
Another thing I do with the bean paste is make a bread spread. I’ll try to throw up a recipe (or you can too if you do it).