Thursday, December 18, 2008

Recipe: Black Bean and Kale Soup with Indian Spices

I just tossed this soup together tonight when I got home from the market. I had the cooked beans in the fridge, the tomatoes in the freezer and the kale in my market bag. Not all the ingredients are local for me right now, but in another time and place, I had the onions in storage, the peppers and the stock in the freezer, the tomatoes in a jar, the beans dried in the cupboard and the kale growing through the snow. Use local butter for an (almost) totally local soup. One of my favorite favorite Indian dishes from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian Cookbook consists of smoked eggplant and tomatoes that includes a delicious panoply of spices that you can buy already mixed together at an Indian grocery if you have one. If not, a good source online is I abstracted the spices for the recipe below, but if you can get your hands on MDH's baingan bhartaa masala, you won't be sorry.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes; cook time 5-10 minutes
Serves 4-6

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium sweet bell pepper, chopped
1-2 green chilis, to taste
1 clove garlic
2 T olive oil
3-4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cups black beans, cooked
4 cups pastured chicken stock
1 tsp each coriander, cumin, ginger, black pepper
1/2 tsp each cardamom, nutmeg and cloves
Squeeze of lemon or lime to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups kale, chopped

Saute the onions, peppers, chilis and garlic in the oil/butter for about 5-7 minutes in a stockpot over medium high heat until the onions start to get a little translucent and release their magical juices. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes until they get all juicy and start smelling good. Throw in the black beans and give a good stir. Add the chicken stock and when heated to a simmer, taste for salt. Add the spices, salt and pepper and lime juice to taste. Taste early, taste often. Taste while standing over the simmering pot and let the spices fill your head with delicious dreams. When the soup is hot and simmering at a good clip, throw in the kale and give it several stirs. Simmer it hard for a few more minutes until the kale turns bright green and is soft/crunchy enough to suit your palate.

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