Full of flavor, this soup will warm you, wake you up, and make you want to dance. And it won’t break the bank!
I was talking to my friend Chris recently, and he was making black bean soup. The thoughts of the soup stuck in my mind, so that evening I put a pound of dried black beans (organic, bulk $3 lb.) in a big bowl with a teaspoon of salt and plenty of water to more than cover and let them swell during the night. The next morning, after rinsing them, I cooked them simply in my pressure cooker with an onion, bay leaf, and a little more salt. I had 10 cups of beans for all kinds of purposes the rest of the week, and some for the freezer. New England Yankee thrift at its best. Soup was on the menu, because I wanted something simmering away while I prepared for a re-match against my granddaughter who beat me with great gusto in our last game of Scrabble.
One large rutabaga to the rescue
I also had a very large rutabaga from my winter CSA for just a few dollars. Once I finished chopping up this massive root, I had tons! I actually put around five cups of it in this soup, and still had some left for mash at another meal. Those frugal genes were tingling!
We all loved the soup, and I credit its name to my after-dinner Scrabble triple word “Jazzy,” that made good use of a blank tile and connected to a good “q” word. Sometimes you just get lucky, even when playing against a really sharp fifth grader.
If you don’t have rutabaga, any turnip would do here, and if you don’t like black beans, substitute what you like. Red beans would be delicious. Play with the spices, use the heat you like, or leave it out. It’s your soup after all! No matter what you do, it will taste great and be really good for you and your brain.
Filled with robust flavor, the soup is a little sweet from the rutabaga, a smooth warmth from the cayenne, a little kick from the Serrano, and lots of earthiness from the beans. It is also dairy- and gluten-free and vegan, without even trying! Well-rounded, warming, and just what one needs on a February evening, Miles Davis playing softly in the background, trying to beat a clever 11-year-old granddaughter at Scrabble.
The rest of the beans? They ended up filling tacos, mashed on toast, added to a stir-fry, and tucked in the freezer for another day.
Jazzy Rutabaga and Black Bean Soup
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 Serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- About a quart of diced rutabaga, more or less
- 2 cups black beans
- 6 cups stock (I used homemade vegetable)
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high and add the onion, carrots, and pepper. Sauté until just starting to color, then make a little space in the middle of the pan and add the spices, tomato paste, and garlic.
Continue cooking for another minute for the spices to bloom and become aromatic, then add the beans and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for about a half hour, or until the rutabaga is nice and soft.
Add the vinegar and parsley, remove from the heat and serve up. This is lovely with croutons or corn chips.
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