Thursday, August 12, 2010

Freezer Meal #2 -- Black Bean Soup

My fellow Little Rock residents may have experienced the fabulous restaurant that is (was?) Vermillion Water Grille. And if you were very fortunate, you may also have experienced their fabulous black bean soup. I have tried a few recipes trying to find just the right taste, and finally, with Dave Lieberman's recipe - I found it! (The only discernable difference between Dave's recipe and Vermillion's recipe is that Vermillion mashes or blends their soup to an almost smooth consistency, probably using an immersion blender, which you could definitely do if you so desire right before serving.)

Inés and I made just one recipe last weekend, which is probably enough to serve 6-8 people. We split it. As far as freezer directions, we stopped right after we added the cilantro, allowed it to cool for about 30 minutes, and then put it in our freezer bowls. Again, not a bad idea to label anything you put in the freezer.

Defrost in the fridge for 24 hours, or on the countertop for 6-8 hours. Heat to boiling, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Right before serving, squeeze in a little lime juice. Serve with whatever garnishes you desire - I just had a little fresh cilantro and some sour cream on mine, but you can also do green onions, shredded jack cheese, corn chips, etc.

Have I mentioned my love of Jiffy corn muffin mix? Or of quick breads in general? Ok, briefly -- quick breads are breads that require no kneading and usually (but not always) get their rising power from baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast. If you can make pancakes, you can make a quick bread. And don'tcha know I have a few ridiculously easy recipes for these as well? El Jefe loves homemade bread, but since I rarely have the hours required to make yeast bread, this is an excellent alternative for us.'s the cornbread I served with the soup:

Jiffy Cheddar Green Chile Cornbread

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 c milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 oz shredded cheddar
Half of 1 (7oz) can diced green chiles, mostly drained

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you have an 8" round cast iron skillet, or even a cake pan, grease it with a little shortening or oil by applying with a paper towel. This will also make about six muffins; grease the muffin cups in the same manner.

Mix together the Jiffy mix, egg, milk, and pepper JUST until combined. It will be lumpy. This is totally okay and even desired. Dump in your cheddar and green chiles and stir just until mixed in; 5-10 stirs TOPS.

Dump the batter into your skillet or muffin cups. Muffins will take about 15 minutes, and the skillet will take about 20.

I will post some more quick bread recipes soon.

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