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Bay Colony Farm
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Helen
Another Day at Bay Colony Farm
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
What's Cooking?
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Survivor "Eye of the Tiger"
Topic: Food

One thing I love to do is cook. But, I must have enough time to cook, or else I don't get a meal prepared that is really worthy of even having said "I made dinner tonight".

I'm always on the lookout for new recipes and I adore buying cookbooks, especially regional cookbooks from New England, Southern NJ/Eastern PA, and Nebraska/Midwest area.

Having been born in New England, this area really influences my cooking. I love making various seafood dishes, and LOVE fried flounder!

But today, being a rainy day, well, it just struck me as a "soup" day. And one of my favorites is black bean soup, even though it isn't a "regional" food.

Now, my favorite local restaurant for lunch is Panera's. And until a couple of months ago, they had a vegetarian low fat black bean soup on the menu which was to die for! As much as I love Panera's sandwiches, most of the time I would order half a sandwich and a bowl of the black bean soup. Only they changed it. They now offer a Cuban Black Bean soup, which isn't as good IMO.

So, I was forced to scour the net and my vast cookbook selection for a soup that was just as good. And I think that I've finally come up with one. I've taken the 2 basic ingredients from one recipe, and seriously added it. Keep in mind, that this recipe isn't vegetarian, or even low fat, but it's pretty darn good, and I've made two versions of it which I'm happy with. The one I'm sharing today is the Hearty Black Bean Soup. My batch is in the crock pot as we speak, and will be ready for dinner tonight. Yummmmm!

Place into a crockpot the contents of:

2 cans black beans (15 oz. cans)
1 can chicken broth (15 oz. can)
1/2 jar salsa (any brand, any variety depending on what you like)
1 pound of ground beef - browned
1 TBS. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 TBS. oregano
1 tsp. Hungarian Sweet Paprika
1 TBS. lemon juice

Mix together, and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. This allows the flavors to mingle.

Serve with chopped onions, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and/or guacamole. Crushed tortilla chips in the soup is very good too!

For a different variation, leave out the ground beef. Or you can mash the beans from one of the cans to have a thicker soup.

Either way, this is delicious!

Oh, and if you want really good spices, I highly recommend Penzeys. I've only mail ordered spices from them, but they really are the best spices I've ever used. And that Hungarian Sweet Paprika, well, I use that on fried eggs, in my Curried Chicken salad and anything that I think needs a little zip.

Penzey's does have two stores in New England, one in Norwalk, CT and the other in Arlington, MA. I haven't been to either one, as their hours aren't the greatest, and with the price of gas now, it probably costs me less to have things shipped than to drive to either one. But, if I ever get down to either area, I'll be sure to stop in.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:23 AM EST

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