My first real crush was in middle school, on a boy named D. He had insanely blue eyes and criminally long eyelashes. I was hysterical over him. He sat in front of me in English and I let him cheat off of me. Loves means enabling.
I went out with D one time. We saw a matinée of “Milk Money” and his mom picked us up in her Iroc. I was quite impressed with that car. She brought us to Taco Bell afterwards, a new endeavor for me. I had never been. I remember asking D what I should order, feeling giddy and excited to just stand next to him. Me, D and a soft chicken taco…it was bliss.
Fast forward 15 years, and things are no longer that simple. This Saturday I met up with Cindarella at the mall. Do you know the only thing worse than the mall before Christmas? The mall before Christmas with brutal hangovers. The first course of action was to hit the food court in an attempt to kill the pain with grease. I went for the McNuggets; Cindarella ran for the border. We sat in the packed food court and talked about men and various aggravations related to them. As we both sat there– tired, defeated, achy–I found myself wishing I was 12 again and my biggest worry with a guy was ordering the right taco in his presence. Instead, we are bitching about guys over our nachos.
Our problems may have changed, but so have our palettes. Looking at Cindarella eat her processed, refried beans, I started to crave black bean soup. This recipe is hearty and flavorful, heavy in the rotation during the winter months. I make it so often I have it memorized. It varies a bit time to time–more corn if I have it laying around, thrown in grated carrots–but it always comes out really well. It’s filling while being healthy and makes for the perfect lunch box addition.
I just don’t think it will solve our boy problems.
Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cups chopped medium onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
Several red pepper flakes (small shake)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1 cup liquid reserved
1 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and thyme; sauté until onion is golden, about 8 minutes. Add beans, reserved 1 cup bean liquid, broth, tomatoes with juices, corn, cumin and hot pepper sauce. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and soup thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Working in 2 batches, purée 2 1/2 cups soup in blender until smooth, or stick in the immersion blender for about 45 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls.