Black Bean Soup With Spinach
This spicy soup is a highly nutritious meal in a bowl and one more way to use spinach in a bag. It’s inspired by a black bean soup made in the highlands of Veracruz with a local green that is somewhat like lamb’s quarters.
- 12 ounces black beans, washed and picked over for stones, soaked in 2 quarts water for six hours or overnight
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
- 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded and finely chopped
- 12 ounces (two bags) baby spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish if desired
1. Soak the beans in the water for at least six hours. If they will be soaking for a long time in warm weather, put them in the refrigerator.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about three minutes, and add half the garlic and the cumin. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute, and add the beans and soaking water. They should be covered by two inches of water. Add more water as needed, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and skim off any foam that rises. Cover and simmer one hour.
3. Add the salt, chipotles, remaining garlic and half the cilantro. Continue to simmer another hour, until the beans are quite soft and the broth is thick and fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator for the best flavor.
4. Partially puree the soup using an immersion blender, or puree 2 cups of the beans with a small amount of broth in a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Stir back into the soup. Bring to a simmer. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and simmer for five minutes. Stir in the remaining cilantro, and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with warm corn tortillas, garnishing each bowl with queso fresca.
Yield: Serves six
Advance preparation: The cooked beans will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator, and they freeze well. Bring back to a simmer and add the spinach before serving.