Dinner, Life, Soups

Sick Days Are For….

I was trying to ignore the symptoms over the latter part of the weekend. By Monday night there was no use in trying to trick my mind into believing what my whole body was telling me. There was nothing to do…no more preventative maintenance (Note: do not eat zinc lozenges on an empty stomach), fresh ginger root tea was made and I started sucking down tea and water faster than I could refill them. No luck. Head throbbing. I tried to sleep although there was little sleep to be had. So I called out of my ‘real life’ job. I accessed my couch, my favorite soft, gray knit blanket that I received years ago from my dear friend, Heather,  and drank cups of tea. For a few hours I just felt sorry for myself. I talked with my Cincy Bff for a minute. It felt good to laugh even though it hurt. Then I pulled myself up and realized I needed to end the pity party I was really starting to enjoy. Of course, I turned to my constant companion, the kitchen. I glanced around the pantry, the fridge and realized I could throw together a Black Bean Spicy Soup in the crockpot. Sounded like a dream come true…even if I was my very own white knighted-ness in bling and armour…or a hoodie and big scarf.  Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen had the perfect recipe: Spicy Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema. Sounds all fancy pants, right? Just wait. The thing I love about Deb’s recipes are they are SO accessible to the home cook like me! In fact, I really need to get my very own copy of her new cookbook – I have been hearing rave reviews all over the place! I will show you this recipe in photos…head over to the link above for all of the details on this fantastic recipe.

Why black bean soup? Well, Smarty Pants Me bought some dried black beans in bulk not too long ago…they were on sale and in my world that is reason enough! And, yes, they are cheaper than canned black beans. But they need a little love, some planning. You typically should soak the beans overnight…but Deb, she was totes looking out for me today!

It all starts with some basics: onion, red and green pepper get cooked for a little bit.

A proven fighter of colds (in my congested, bewildered mind, anyhow) minced fresh garlic and cumin join in. A win-win, right? And then the real spice kicker: chipotle chili’s in adobo sauce…clearly I will be breathing easier, right?

This gets added to the large crock pot. 16 oz. of DRIED BEANS go into the pot, along with the veggies and cups of hot tap water. I was skeptical…would these beans cook and soften over the course of hours? Would I be led astray?

Fact: Chopping onions when you are sick? Difficult!

I set it to high and went back to my pity party. Napped. Drank more tea. After 4 hours it looked like this…


After a total of 6 1/2 hours of cooking I declared that the beans were soft enough. In the meantime I had toasted up some whole cumin seed and bashed it into a coarse grind with my mortar and pestle.

One should always have a mortar and pestle in their kitchen…it really gets frustrations out of your system (but not colds, unfortunately).

Here comes the fancy pants part…the crema part. You could use creme fraiche or you could use sour cream. It gets mixed up with the toasted cumin, salt and pepper. Two cups of the bean mixture gets puréed until smooth and added back in along with some lime juice, salt and pepper. Sounds like a bit of effort but it really isn’t. The final result…

Seconds, please!

I noticed it just had a great, solid flavor combination – from just a few simple ingredients. The best part was the toasted cumin dollop of cream on top. It gets a little melty into the soup…ahh…hot and cold relief. Again today was a reminder to be patient, simplicity often yields fantastic results and also a nudge to slow down just a little bit before the holidays arrive and all the craziness that ensues.
I will give you an answer to the ‘How did it taste?” just as soon as I can taste again!  Stay tuned, and as always, THANK YOU so very much for reading! 


Oh, my…more please!

So this Spicy Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Cream…yes. Get on this recipe, please? The creamy black beans, slightly thickened after a day or two, with the softest kick of chipotle at the end. But it is ok…that toasted cumin cream takes away any hint of spice oh, so right. Just try and have enough for leftovers…!


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