Black Bean Soup with Roasted Jalapeno Salsa

Soak overnight and then cook:

1 c. dry black beans (or sub 2 cans canned black beans)
(Add a bay leaf, a couple of epazote leaves, and a Cuban oregano leaf to the water while cooking, if you happen to have them available.)

When beans are cooked, strain out liquid & keep it in reserve.

Heat 2 T. oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add to hot oil:

1 poblano or green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c. red onion, chopped
¾ t. salt
½ t. pepper

Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Then add:

1 t. cumin

Add to pot:

Black beans
1 12-oz bottle of beer (the original recipe called for lager, but I use Negra Modelo)
½ c. reserved bean-cooking liquid OR vegetable broth

Let all the ingredients cook together. Thickening the soup: mash some beans with a fork or potato masher, or use an immersion blender to blend some.

Then make the salsa. Broil until charred (anywhere from 3 to 12 minutes, checking regularly):

4 jalapenos, halved and seeded, laid skin-side up on the broiling pan

When jalapenos have cooled, slice them in strips and toss with:

½ c. cilantro, chopped
1/3 c. red onion, chopped fine and rinsed
2 t. oil (ideally good olive oil)
¼ t. each of salt & pepper
2 T. fresh lime juice

Serve soup with salsa on the side as an optional “topper.” The salsa really makes the dish, though!

Adapted from Real Simple magazine, March 2010 issue

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