Thursday, January 3, 2013

Soup Binge

I've been on a bit of a soup binge lately. Its no coincidence that the weather has been especially cold this week (the low last night was -10 F!!). What could be more satisfying on a bone-chilling day than a steamy bowl of soup?
The night before last I made Potato - Asparagus Soup, inspired by a recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance and the need to use-up some asparagus left over from New Year's Eve dinner. The result was delicious, and dare I say, even a little bit fancy? It reminded me of something you'd eat while sitting outside at a cafe table at a little bistro. Plus it was green, which made it automatically more awesome. Even Matt, the consumate carnivore, said "it isn't hateful" (which, in Matt-speak, is the equivalent of saying, "This is totally awesome and I will eat it when you cook it.")

Last night, still craving soup, I made a Panera-style Black Bean Soup.

As a side note: I LOVE Panera's black bean soup, but it seems that they never have it anymore?? Every time I've been in a Panera over the past year or so (which hasn't been a whole lot, admittedly), its not on the menu. Therefore, this is one of the reasons my Panera attendance has been so low (the other, of course, is that I can't afford it!)

Anyway. The black bean soup turned out AMAZING. I had it for dinner last night, lunch today, and will probably have totally had it for dinner again tonight.

But enough rambling. Without further ado, here are the recipes:

Potato - Asparagus Soup
serves 1-2

1 potato (russet, yukon gold, etc.)
5-6 asparagus stems, cut into smaller pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
About 1 Tbsp of finely-chopped shallot (or onion, if thats all you have)
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 Tbsp olive oil, for sauteeing

1. Cube the potato and boil it until it is soft. Add the aspargus for the last 3 or 4 minutes of boiling. Drain and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, saute the garlic and shallots (or onion) in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the scallions and sautee a minute longer, then add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

3. Put the potato and aspagus mixture, and the broth, garlic, and shallot mixture in a blender. Blend until smooth.

4. Garnish wirh some ground black pepper and a few chopped scallions, and enjoy!

Black Bean Soup
Serves 2-3

1 29-oz can of black beans
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil, for sauteeing

1. In a saucepan, saute the garlic, shallots (or onion), and scallions in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the scallions (and jalapeno, if using) and saute a minute longer, then add the vegetable broth. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add about 1/2 of the black beans. Simmer another couple of minutes.

2. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the saucepan (not over heat; only for the purpose of mixing). Add in the remaining black beans, stir, and serve.


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