I am the assistant director/children's librarian at a small (medium for North Dakota) public library. We are in the process of building a new library, our library was built in 1918, it is beautiful, but no longer provides adequate space for a community that has grown to over 22,000. The architects have begun to consider designs for a 26,000 square foot building and at one of the public meetings they presented a variety of photos of libraries, asking the public which designs they preferred. The thing I noticed is that the night photos that had lots of light shining out of the windows and the day photos that had lots of light streaming into the building were the most popular choices. I think this may have something to do with the fact that it is winter, it is dark and cold much of the time, the photos that looked light and warm were the ones that caught everyone's eye.
Light and warmth were what I wanted when I went searching for something to make for dinner, we didn't want a heavy meal, something light and simple would do and I wanted it to have some heat to it, something a bit spicy. I use my cookbook and cooking magazine collection as inspiration and when I found a recipe for a spicy black bean soup in a 2002 Bon Appetit magazine I knew I had found what I was looking for, with a little tweaking, actually a lot of tweaking.
I had shredded chicken in the freezer from when I had made chicken stock and I decided I was in the mood for chicken with cumin, that would work in this soup, I didn't have green chilies on hand, but a cup of my chunky tomato salsa that I canned last summer would be good, I decided it needed a carrot and a little more garlic and with the chicken added it would need more stock. Well, the resulting recipe is below and can I just say that it was delicious. In fact, I think the left-overs are even better, I'm eating a bowl for lunch right now (as I write this, not as you read it, of course) and I just can't get enough of this spicy goodness, it wakes up all the senses.
Spicy Black Bean Soup
~adapted heavily from Bon Appetit, July 2002~
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium-sized jalapeño with seeds, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
2 tablespoons cumin
1 cup chunky tomato salsa
3 15-ounce cans black beans, undrained
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or 2 tablespoons freeze-dried cilantro
Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and jalapeño and saute until the onion is translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chicken and cumin and saute one minute more. Add salsa, beans, chicken stock, and cilantro, if using dried, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until flavors blend and carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Add cilantro, if using fresh. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.
Sense of Home / Recipes / Soup
This post is linked to:
Tuesdays at the Table
This Weeks Cravings
Real Food Fiesta
Beat the Winter Blues