Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thanks Cookworm!

Since Andy is out of town this week, I'm making a lot of kid-friendly fare here. In my mind, there is just no point experimenting on my monsters when he's gone- it's so much easier to just make what they like and be done with it. Yet that's not always appealing to myself. I enjoy mac and cheese as much as the next guy, but by golly, it's winter here! And that means soup. I love soup, adore soup, I'd eat it every day if I could. My kids, not so much. They'll pick at it, and they are always willing to try, but big soup-eaters, they are not.

I planned to make soup. But since it was just for me, this was my opportunity to experiment and try a completely new soup- maybe find one to put into regular rotation (if there really is such a thing I guess). Looking in my freezer I found an insane amount of pork, and contemplated some kind of posole or something, but since I lack any of the other basic ingredients, I decided to pass for now. Then I found the frozen tube of Mexican Chorizo-ah ha! I found one part to my soup. A trip to the pantry found about 2 1/2 cups of dried black beans. Black beans? Chorizo? Surely there is a soup out there that combines these two. Only, not really. I did find one at Epicurious that looked promising, and a chili in last month's Cooking Light (but that included beef as well, and not really what I was looking for).

I resigned myself to making the epicurious one, I pulled the chorizo out of the fridge to thaw overnight, and cooked up the black beans to have them at the ready the next morning. Then, yesterday morning I decided to do some checking up on a few blogs I've been neglecting, and right there, front and center was a Black Bean and Pumpkin Stew. With Chorizo. My old swap buddy April of Cookworm had just posted a rather interesting looking stew. And I had every single ingredient on her list. It was fate. I pulled the pumpkin out of the freezer to thaw, and then the vegetable broth as well. (See, a well stocked freezer comes in super handy!) I put the stew together after lunch, but then I decided I really was more in the mood for soup and I doubled the veggie broth to make it soup instead of stew. Here's where I have a confession: I had serious doubts about this soup. While I was previously gung-ho about the project, I just wasn't sure about the pumpkin. I love pumpkin and squash, but I have yet to have a positive experience with them in something savory. I just prefer them sweet- even when mashed- they get a pat of butter and some brown sugar. That's just the way I am.

But something magical happened in that soup pot. The pumpkin shared it's sweetness, the chorizo it's spiciness, the black beans their earthiness, the garlic and onions shared all their flavor, and that final shot of vinegar at the end just took it over the top. This was one amazing soup! I crushed up a few tortilla chips to add to my serving, and a scattering of parsley. I had planned on eating this soup all week, but I am already thinking about it this early in the morning, and I'm thinking of how wonderful it would be for lunch. One thing is for sure. This soup is going into the repertoire, and I will be making this again for Andy. This is also very economical- for me it was literally free, but Mexican chorizo I tend to find very inexpensively, and beans and pumpkin are also really low in price. Thank you so much April! Be sure to head over to Cookworm to check out her original version of the recipe. My version of Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup has been customized to accommodate my changes.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
adapted from a recipe by April at Cookworm

2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 4 cups cooked black beans)
2 cups pumpkin or butternut squashed, cooked, cooled, and mashed (or 1 15-oz can)
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo, crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Tortilla chips and parsley to garnish

Heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and cook until onions are translucent. Add the chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stir for a few seconds, then add the beans, pumpkin, and stock. Cover and cook on medium-low for 30 to 40 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and parsley.

Makes about 4 servings


cookworm said...

Aw shucks, you made me feel all warm and fuzzy and slightly embarrassed from the attention. :) Thanks very much for the nice words. I too love that it's super economical yet still yummy. Cheers!

Erika W. said...

Don't be embarassed! It's really good, and I can't wait to eat it again!

JEP said...

A friend at work gave me a recipe close to this one without any meat. The pumpkin really makes it for me!

Erika W. said...

Jep, April did mention that she's made this without meat and thought it just fine that way too. Tonight I was thinking that in stew form, this would be awesome served over brown rice, and then adding a dollop of chutney instead of the vinegar.

Much, much potential here!

swirlingnotions said...

Looks fabulous, Erika. Two of my favorite--black bean soup and butternut squash--in one dish. Love it!

Erika W. said...

I've eaten it three days in a row now Lia! And I don't like leftovers, so that should definitely say something.