Smoky Black Bean Soup
This past winter I started making soup regularly. My mom always made soup when I was growing up with the turkey leftover from Thanksgiving. From that I developed a chicken soup that was simple and easy. And thatâ€™s where I stayed. No potato, cream of broccoli or mulligatawny for me. I stuck to my tried and true chicken, veggie and noodles, or if I was feeling really crazy: RICE!
So this year, I challenged myself to try new recipes and forced myself to cook out of my comfort zone. It worked; we had some great soups this winter. Iâ€™m going to post about the more successful soups throughout this year but I wanted to start with one of my favorites Smoky Black Bean Soup. It wasnâ€™t actually a new recipe for me but the finished recipe is decidedly different from the original.
My first soup experiment was about 6 years ago with a black bean soup I found on The Food Network. It was delicious, my family loved it, I could make it for friends and it was pretty simple. The problem was, the comments on The Food Network website (at that time, there are now hundreds of comments on that recipe) said repeatedly: do not change this recipe, follow it exactly or it wonâ€™t turn out, donâ€™t even think about using 11 strips of bacon if it says 10, you will ruin your soup! Being a soup novice, I was a little intimidated. Being of the mind-set â€œyou canâ€™t control meâ€ I was a little irritated. I followed the recipe, I was too afraid not to. The soup was good, but I wanted it to be better.
As the years progressed each time I made the soup I started changing things. First I tried ground turkey instead of bacon. That was okay, but the original was better.
Next I tried ground beef and a little liquid smoke, it was better than the ground turkey but the original was still better. I had been trying to get away from the bacon but clearly, the commenters were correct, â€œdonâ€™t mess with the bacon!â€
Back to the bacon I went. It was good, really good. I realized what I wasnâ€™t satisfied with: the broth. It was thin. Tasty, but thin. I wanted it to be richer, almost like a chili and that became my next focus.
So after a couple more random tries with varied results, my most recent deviation from the original recipe is The One. This is the recipe I will stick to every time I make smoky black bean soup in the future. I wonâ€™t change it, I love it, itâ€™s perfect. Let me know if you agree!
Do you love black bean soup? Will you give this one a try? I’d love to hear about it if you do.