Friday, October 5, 2007

Happy Experiment

Tonight was one of those nights where you look in the fridge and everything looks uninspired. You don't even really have ingredients for a meal, just eggs, milk, cheese and fruit, and a fruit-and-cheese omelette is out of the question. I don't know if they're ever in the question, but that's so not the point. So I looked in the pantry and was met with pasta, more pasta and cans and cans of beans. I was thinking it would be a cereal for dinner kind of night because I'm getting pretty sick of spaghetti, when I was reminded of the few episodes of "Pantry Raid" I've seen, where this chef goes into people's homes and makes a fabulous meal out of whatever is in their pantry and fridge. So I decided to play "Pantry Raid".

After looking at the endless cans of beans, I remembered eating a delicious black bean soup at a restaurant last year, so I headed to the internet for black bean soup recipes. Naturally, I didn't have the ingredients the recipes were calling for, so I decided to wing it. That's what all the best cooks do, right? (Also all the cooks who give their guests food poisoning, but it's best to look on the bright side.) My experiment turned out to be surprisingly good.

Here's my very own black bean soup recipe:

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can vegetable broth (or whatever broth you have)
1 can diced tomatoes (mine had zesty chiles in them, but you could use whatever tomatoe-y product you have... tomato sauce, tomato paste, salsa... you get the idea)

Olive oil
1 half of a monstrous white (or yellow) onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1-2 tablespoons cumin (to taste)
A few shakes of red pepper flake
Black pepper

So, take one can of black beans and the vegetable broth and puree it in the blender. Put that mixture and the remaining black beans into a medium/big pot over medium heat.

In a skillet, heat a couple glugs of olive oil (I'm so precise, aren't I?) and the onion over medium heat. When the onions start to get translucent, add the garlic, cumin and red pepper flake. Stir it around and let it cook a few minutes, then stir it into the pot with the black beans. Drain the can of tomatoes and add to the soup. Add black pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 15 or 20 minutes until it thickens up a bit (you can always add more liquid if you want it soupier, or strain a little out if you want it thicker). Serve hot.

I put a big spoonful of sour cream on top of ours, but it would probably also be delicious over tortilla chips (or smashed taco shells) and shredded cheese, or with quesadillas. If you try it, let me know what you think, or what variations you used. Yay for kitchen bravery!


heather said...

I am so impressed!

Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious! Next thing I know you'll have your own "young marrieds" cooking show on the Food channel.

Sue said...

Wow. I had one of those nights too. We went to IHOP.

Jess said...

Wow, how do you do it! I have no ounce of creativity in the kitchen. If I can't follow a recipe or I haven't made it before there is no hope. I really wish I could wing it, but it is usually breakfast for dinner when I don't have all the ingredients for a recipe. Teach me your ways.