Hearty Black Bean Soup

When I was little, summertime was my all-time favorite season.  Between the sun, swimming, being out of school, and my birthday, I was ALL about summer.  Now that I’m older, I realized how much I fell in love with the fall.  Between the leaves changing, sweatshirts, pumpkin spice mistos, and being wrapped in a snuggly blanket, I am ALL about fall.

The last couple weeks, the Pacific Northwest has been hammered with rain and cooler temperatures.  Many people have been complaining about the weather change, while many others (including me!) are relishing in it!  And you know what all of those changes mean?  It’s time for soup!  And football!  And apple cider!  And apple pie!  And apple crisp!  And …oh jeez, this could go on for awhile.  Let’s start with soup!

My husband is amazing and I LOVE cooking for him.  Honestly, he is not picky in the absolute least, except for his two culinary aversions: sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.  A few things about his thoughts on sweet potatoes:

1.  He won’t eat them.
2.  He won’t eat anything with sweet potatoes IN it (even if you can pick them out)
3.  He prefers if I’m baking sweet potato fries, they are cooked separately from his crinkle fries in a separate oven.

The cranberry sauce?  The first time I served him that was on Thanksgiving last year, to which he quickly responded with, “ummm, I’m sorry, but there seems to be some sort of red crap on my plate.  Can you take care of that, please?”  I almost died laughing then realized he was really serious.  I may normally refer him to the kitchen to take care of it himself, but I was afraid that “red crap” may be spackled against my countertops, haha.

How on Earth he doesn’t like these two things, I’ll never understand!  But that’s ok; I’ve learned to avoid them or simply make myself some sweet potato fries while he has his boring old crinkle fries.  Hahaha, actually I love crinkle fries!  I can’t even pretend to knock them.  :)

This story wasn’t just a tangent, it really did have purpose!  With this whole sweet potato “issue”, he swears he would never eat anything with sweet potatoes in it.  So when I came across this recipe over at www.foodiewithfamily.com, I was skeptical if I could slide a fast one by him.  I saw the photo of Foodie’s soup on her Instagram feed, which I commented on and talked with a couple other bloggers about my plan of attack.  And you know what?!  SUCCESS!!  He devoured his soup, and even dipped his carne asada into it and wiped the bowl clean.  He still has no idea of the fast one I pulled on him, so it’s our little secret.  Jen – 1, Sweet Potato Hater – 0.  BOOM!

Which brings me to my love of soup.  Here is the first bowl we devoured of the season and many more to come!

black bean soup_edited

What intrigued me most about seeing Rebecca’s photo on Instagram was that it looked so complex with flavors, but you could add so much to it!  I made this recipe verbatim to hers, but have some additions to suggest for toppings: bacon, green onions, sour cream, jalapenos, and cilantro.  You could try all kinds of things!  It’s a very versatile soup and I have to say, the orange flavor surprised me!  I didn’t know what to expect and I swear, it’s the best part of this recipe!

PS:  You should totally follow Rebecca over at Foodie with Family on Instagram and Facebook.  She has some amazing photos, recipes and ideas.  :)

2 cups dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
5 cups water
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
3 cups onion, chopped (1 1/2 onions)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice (I used Simply Orange with heavy pulp)
2 tomatoes or 10 cherry tomatoes, diced

I’m going to defer directly to Rebecca’s recipe direction because she hit the nail on the head on this one!

One last note: this freezes very well! I filled some pint size jars with the soup and stuck them in the freezer.  We’ve already warmed some up for dinners, as well as packed them in our lunch boxes.  Easy peasy!

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