Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Big Pot of Black Bean Soup

By using a slow cooker to cook the dried black beans for this soup, you can spend 5 minutes in the morning getting it going, then finish it off just before dinnertime without too much trouble.  It took me about a half hour or so to chop the vegetables and get everything into the pot, then another half hour or so to cook while I cleaned up and did other stuff around the kitchen.  Pretty easy! This makes a big pot of soup, about 6 quarts, which is enough to share with friends or a big family, or to last a small family all week long! It is hearty and flavorful, a bit spicy but not really hot spicy. Environmentally friendly because 
a) no meat
b) you are using dried beans instead of canned (less garbage, fewer resources used to produce the food) 

First, cook the black beans, starting in the morning.  This will only take about 5 minutes, so do not be intimidated! 

Combine in 6 qt or larger slow cooker:
5 cups dried black beans (no need to soak them!)
½ large yellow onion, peeled but not cut up
1 piece dried kombu
1 garlic clove, whole
1 tsp ground chipotle pepper or 1 whole dried chipotle pepper
water to cover all, leave a couple inches at top per slow cooker manufacturer instructions to allow optimal slow cooking

Cook on low temperature for 8-10 hours.

Then, in the evening, drain beans, discarding the onion, garlic clove and kombu that flavored them.

extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ large yellow onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
26.5 oz. container chopped tomatoes (I like the kind in cartons, rather than cans)
4 cups water
1 ½ tsp salt
1 TBS dried oregano
1 TBS ground cumin
Chopped cilantro and sour cream or cashew cream to garnish

In large pot (at least 6 quarts, bigger is better), sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, then reduce heat to low, stir in celery, carrots, green pepper and garlic and sauté a few minutes more.  Add drained beans, tomatoes, water, and spices to pot.  Stir everything together.  Cover and raise heat to bring contents to a simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (or more makes flavors blend even better). Puree with stick blender. Garnish with chopped cilantro and sour cream or cashew cream. Makes about 6 quarts, enough for a crowd.