May 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
When I decided to do vegetarian week I wasn’t quite thinking about the fact it was Memorial Day weekend. Only one of the biggest BBQ’ing weekends of the year. I love BBQ. I’m Southern and typically in the South the words BBQ and vegetarian don’t go hand in hand. Blasphemy.
Last night at my friend’s BBQ I reached deep down inside for some serious resolve to stick to my commitment. Despite the delicious smell of grilled meat filling up the yard, I stayed true. There was only one moment that shook my resolve when my friend Alicia asked if we had tried the pulled pork they brought. I am from South Carolina and a good pulled pork sandwich is one of the things I miss the most living away. I grew up near Charlotte in a South Carolina suburb so I got to divide my loyalty equally between the vinegar-based pulled pork sandwiches and the mustard-based that divide North & South Carolina.
Ok I need to stop writing about this. My mouth is salivating and my stomach is growling. Time to turn my thoughts back to being vegetarian. I did have one saving grace last night thanks to a friend and foodie from Boston who sent me a great recipe for the black bean soup I brought last night. Miriam is an ultimate BBQ entertainer so I trusted her on this one and it didn’t disappoint. Without it, those pulled pork sandwiches would have been mine!
Miriam’s black bean soup with chipotle chilis
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles* – also called “chipoltes in adobo”
7 cups hot water (I use ½ water / ½ broth for flavor)
* in lieu of broth I tried a trick my friend Mark (a Texan) taught me to put soy sauce in at the end. It really does simulate the “meatiness” you would normally get from pork.
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (I left this out because of the soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
sour cream or low fat plain yogurt
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir 1 minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water/broth mixture. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 6 hours. Transfer 2 cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth (I just stick an immersion blender in the whole batch til it’s the consistency I like). Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of sour cream into each bowl. Sprinkle with tomatoes, avocados, and cilantro and serve.
*Chipotle chiles canned in a spicy tomato sauce, sometimes called adobo, are available at Latin American markets and many supermarkets.