Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 15, 2008: Black bean and avocado soup

We'd loaded up on goodies at the Queen Vic Market on Saturday and had decided that we should buy some dried black beans and then get ourselves organised enough to actually use them. Thus, by the time Monday rolled around we'd had a couple of cups of beans soaking for a good 30 hours and were ready to turn them into dinner.

My first port of call for Mexican-y recipes is Ken Charney's Bold Vegetarian Chef, possibly my favourite in our cookbook collection. He didn't disappoint, providing us with a recipe for 'Beautiful black bean and avocado soup'. It all took a bit longer than I imagined it would - despite our preparedness, I didn't realise how long the pre-cooking of the beans would take. I had them simmering for about an hour, but they still ended up a little bit firmer than I'd have liked. Still, that was the only minor complaint about this meal (well, that and its lack of visual appeal).

The soup had a spicy zing, complemented by the citrus tang of the lime and the coriander. Throw in the rich, dark beans and the fresh ripe avocado, and you've got yourself a delicious treat. I probably went a little overboard on the spices, which meant that the spice range was a bit beyond Cindy's preference, but I enjoyed it very, very much.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons of achiote powder (instead of the recipe's chipotle chilli powder)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped coriander
5 chopped tomatoes
4 cups cooked black bean (you might want to simmer them for 90 minutes)
1 litre vegie stock
2 ripe but firm avocadoes
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil and fry the onion for about 5 minutes - until it's soft.

Add the garlic, cumin, achiote, cinnamon sticks, sugar, salt and half of the coriander. Cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes.

Throw in the tomatoes and beans and stir everything together. Cook for a couple of minutes and then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Take out a couple of cups of beans and liquid and puree them in a food processor, and then stir it back into the pot.

Cook for another few minutes and then kill the heat. Add the avocadoes, lime juice and the rest of the coriander and stir it all together with a bit of salt and pepper.

This is our entry in this month's Legume Love Affair, started by The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted by Lucy at Nourish Me.


  1. Well, look, I kinda disagree about the way it looks, Michael. It looks incredibly good.

    Some beans take so damn long to cook, don't they?

    Another book I shall have to track down, by the looks. Wonderful entry!

  2. It certainly doesn't look beautiful, but with such an array of gorgeous-tasting ingredients (black beans! avocado! lime juice! garlic garlic garlic!) it must surely taste beautiful. I'll have to bookmark this one.

  3. this sounds fantastic - love the combination of beans, avocado and tomatoes in a soup - makes me think this is how I should use those dried black beans lurking in my pantry

  4. i love black beans but am scared by the thought of avocado in a soup for some reason. doesnt it just go mushy and dissolve?

  5. I also reckon it looks great -- but I guess if you've been brought up on legume soup as a staple then it makes sense!

  6. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Looking at the black beans and avocado chunks, I know this is going to be good but I can equally understand why someone less legume-minded might mistake it for pond water. :-D

    Ran, I think the key is using an avocado that's not too ripe e.g. one that's spreadable is too far gone. These avos held together just fine, even as I ate leftover soup a couple of days later!

  7. I'm with Lucy. This soup looks like I want to gorge on it. Great idea to pop the avocado right in it rather than risk a side dish of darkening guacamole - now *that* ain't too pretty. ; }

  8. Hiya, Susan - thanks for stopping by! Guacamole is a beautiful thing but you're right - past its best all too quickly.

  9. I made this tonight - delish, and very quick if you you canned beans and have chopped coriander in the freezer. I think I overestimated the amount of beans two cans constitute, though, and had to take about three cups of liquid out before I blended it or it would have been way too watery. I halved the chili powder too - I know from experience that ours is blow-you-up spicy. There's enough left for two work lunches too.

  10. So glad it worked out for you, Abs! I have never thought about storing herbs in the freezer but it's a great idea - I'll keep it in mind next time we have leftover greens. :-)