Chipotle Black Bean Soup

I used to eat black bean soup all the time in the dining halls when I was in college, and I loved it, even though it was a little bland. This black bean soup is anything but. It was this recipe that started my love of chipotle peppers, and at this point, I’d put them on pretty much anything. (Well, except cereal. That would be gross.)

My other favorite thing about this soup is that it’s just so beautiful. I love the colors of the peppers and onions and limes. One time when I was making it, I put all my scraps and trash into one plastic bag, and even that was vibrant and gorgeous.

All the veggies give this soup a nice crunch, in addition to the creaminess of the beans.

And, of course, a nice dollop of sour cream seals the deal. I make this soup several times each winter, and it’s always hearty, warming, and richly flavored. Definitely a winner!

Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles from a can (this gives it a solid kick, dial back if you are wary)
7 cups hot water (I just used very hot tap water)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

-Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir one minute.
-Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours. (Alternately, you can cook the beans in a pressure cooker and then add them to the pot with the veggies.)
-Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste; we found we needed more salt. Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of toasted cumin seed cream (below) over each bowl and serve.

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