Beety Brazilian Black Bean Soup

Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook

Rinse and then soak overnight (or better yet, soak for 2 nights, changing the water each day):

2 c. dry black beans

Drain water, then cook in

3 1/2 c. water or stock (This is the beets part! If you can, make stock mostly from roasted Montalbano Farms or Radical Root beet parts, with some other leftover vegetable bits thrown in. Really, though, any kind of stock will do.)

Bring to a boil, cover, simmer 1 1/2 hours over very low heat

Then saute together:

1 c. chopped onion
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 large, chopped carrot
1 stalk chopped celery
1 c. chopped green pepper (optional)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
(2 Tbsp oil, approximately)

Start with the onion and garlic. When everything seems just as it should be, add saute to the beans. Let the soup continue to simmer over lowest possible heat.

Add to the soup:

2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, seeded (I also chopped them)
1/2 c. orange juice
1 Tbsp. dry sherry (which I left out, because I didn’t have any)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper (I substituted a couple of thin slices of jalapeno, chopped, which I tossed into the earlier saute)
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. salt

Give it a stir, cover, and sit down for 10 minutes. Now, return to the soup, refreshed. Look at it and ask yourself if this soup suits you. Is it too thick? Add water. Do you want it thicker, heartier? You can puree some or all of it in the blender. You can make it hotter with more red pepper.

(I actually put the soup away overnight and then came back to it. It was a million times more delicious the next morning! Also note: Mollie’s original recipe tells us to cook the beans with salt. I’ve read that that can keep the beans from cooking through – so I always add the salt at the end.)

Serve topped with sour cream or yogurt.

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