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Smoky Black Bean Soup

Smoked paprika and cumin add memorable flavors to this hearty winter soup, and sausage lends both flavor and substance. Serve slices of seeded baguette alongside, and finish the meal with fresh tangerines and crisp cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 fully cooked smoked turkey, chicken or pork sausage(s)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked hot paprika
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more broth or water as
      needed
  • 2 cans (each 15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell peppers, celery and onion and sauté until the onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage and sauté until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin and paprika and stir for 1 minute. Add the 4 cups broth, the black beans and the tomatoes with their juices. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to blend the flavors, at least 20 minutes or up to 45 minutes, thinning with water or more broth as desired.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Quick tips: This soup is fine after 20 minutes of simmering, but it’s even better after 45 minutes or reheated on the next night. If the soup gets too thick, thin it to the desired consistency with water or more broth. To vary this basic recipe, replace the black beans with white beans or chickpeas; use andouille or kielbasa sausage; or select parsnips, sweet potatoes or cabbage in place of the bell peppers.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).