This versatile, but simple black bean soup is easy to make from pantry ingredients and is filled out with a shredded rotisserie chicken breast or a leftover piece of chopped cooked salmon. It’s also perfectly happy with just the bacon or no meat at all. Don’t skip the salsa whatever you do. If your chili powder is hot, you might want to skip the crushed red pepper, depending on how spicy you’d like your soup to be.
2piecesthick-cut baconcut into ½-inch pieces (half will go back into soup later; half will go into the salsa)
2each: peeled medium carrots and stalks of celerycut into small dice
½sweet red bell pepper, cut into small dice
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Crushed red pepperoptional
1teaspooneach: dried oregano and chili powder
1quartlow-sodium chicken broth
315-oz cans drained and rinsed black beansor 4 cups cooked black beans
1small zucchini or yellow squashcut into small dice
1Chicken breast, cooked and shredded or 3 oz salmon fillet, cooked, bones and skin removed, and chopped
½cupSour creamfor garnish, optional
FRESH CORN AND BACON SALSA
2ears cooked corn, kernels cut off (about a cup)
2scallions, thinly sliced--both white and green parts
1/2Jalapeno pepper, minced, membranes and seeds removed
¼cupchopped fresh cilantro
Medium ripe, but firm tomato, cut into small dice
Juice of half lime
You’ll add back ½ of the cooked bacon above, chopped finely
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 5-6 quart heavy pot; add bacon and cook until just barely crispy. Remove bacon to a bowl and reserve, leaving the fat behind in the pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper; season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper, if using, and stir. Sprinkle with oregano, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened, adding garlic for the last minute or two.
Pour in wine and let simmer until wine is reduced by half. Add broth and water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir in beans and zucchini; season with another ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Let simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree them in a food processor or mash them in a medium bowl with a potato masher. Return the pureed/mashed soup to pot and add half of the reserved bacon along with the cooked chicken or salmon. Heat through, then taste and adjust seasonings again as, needed.
MAKE THE SALSA: Chop the other half of the reserved bacon into small pieces and stir that into the rest of the salsa ingredients.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish each with about two tablespoons of the Corn-Bacon Salsa. Serve hot, garnished with a small dollop of sour cream, if desired
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2019. All rights reserved.