Saturday, June 21, 2008

Black Bean and Ham Soup

I am not a soup lover. In fact I have several, um, "yucky" experiences with soups and therefore I tend to stay away from them. However, there are just some days that require a warm and cozy meal. Yesterday was such a day.

As I was making out my weekly menu and grocery list, the weather turned ugly. Dark clouds, howling wind and pelting rain against my window. I decided that it was a perfect night for soup. (Of course, in true Vermont fashion, by dinner time it was sunny and 40 degrees. I just can't win!)

Anyway, it turned out delicious. In case anyone is in need of something yummy to cook for dinner tonight, here is the recipe I used.

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion (or 2 small shallots), diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
2 cans black beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced)
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cubed ham
2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro (or half a bunch)
1 avocado, sliced (optional garnish)
sour cream (optional garnish)

Heat olive oil in large pot (I used my slow cooker). Add in onion and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent. Add in beans, tomatoes and corn. Pour in chicken stock- just enough to cover ingredients. (I don't like extremely watery soups, so I added less than I originally planned. Probably only 3 cups.)

Season with chili powder and/or salt and pepper- to taste.

Let cook on high in crock pot, or med-high on stove, for 2 hours. Then add in diced ham and the juice from the 2 limes. Continue cooking 1 hour, or until the ham is warmed through.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. (I found mine needed more chili powder, but I like things a bit spicy.)

Serve garnished with dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado and cilantro.

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