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Black Bean and Spinach Soup

Posted Feb 18 2010 2:39am

Our theme of cozy winter legume soups continues, as two nights ago Zach had the ultimate foodie inspiration - he sat upright in bed in the middle of the night, and proclaimed out-loud: "Spinach and black bean soup!"

Thus, yesterday evening, Zach fixed us the most gloriously, smokey-spicy black bean and spinach soup...

Dreaming about a new soup recipe - How cool is that?

Black Bean and Spinach Soup

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
4 (14.5 oz) cans black beans, undrained
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 to 2 T red chili paste, depending on how much spice you fancy
12 oz baby spinach leaves
1 T dried cilantro
4 T crumbled feta cheese (optional)

~ In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until they're fragrant and lightly browned, tossing the skillet frequently and taking care not to let the seeds burn. Remove the skillet from the heat, and set aside.
~ In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is limp and translucent.
~ Stir in the black beans with their liquid, the broth, and the red chili paste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender and flavorful. If the soup starts getting to thick and sticking to the bottom of the pot, stir in more broth as needed.
~ Shortly before you're ready to serve the soup, stir in the spinach leaves a couple of handfuls at a time, allowing each handful to wilt down and make room for the next bit of spinach, until all of your spinach is incorporated.
~ Stir in the cilantro, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more red chili paste, if you like.
~ Working in batches with a food processor, puree the soup until smooth (making sure to allow an outlet for the steam while the hot soup is in the food processor...)
~ Return the soup to the pot just to rewarm, then serve, garnished with the feta cheese, if you desire! :-)

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