Chilled Black Bean Soup with Avocado

I can eat soup 365 days of the year, and yet there are few cold soups that I want to eat. This happens to be one of them. It’s a very easy soup to prepare, since it uses cooked canned black beans, and it comes together in less than half an hour from start to finish. You just need to allow time to let it chill, or if you’re pressed for time, throw the blended soup into the freezer to hasten the process.

The only cooking equipment you’ll need is a saucepan with a lid, a strainer, and either a food processor, a blender, or a hand-held stick blender. I made this recipe with the latter, because it’s relatively cheap, about $20.00 or less, and it’s easy to clean. You just need to rinse the “blender” end under hot running water.

  You need to keep the blender completely submerged when you turn it on. The first time I used one, it was like a scene out of “I Love Lucy.” The contents of the pot went flying all over the kitchen! You need to tilt the soup pot a bit, making sure you keep the blender close to the bottom of the pot.

My recipe for Mixed Green Salad Topped With Crispy Salmon calls for half an avocado. That leaves you with the other half. Guess what! You’re going to garnish this cold and refreshing black bean soup with that half. The finished soup will rival the cover of a food magazine, and you’re still a novice cook!

This recipe is straight forward, so there are no potential pitfalls. The canned black beans are already cooked, in case you’re wondering. I was going to say to add a dash of cayenne pepper, but was afraid you might not know about “dashes” yet, so I’m calling for 1/8 teaspoon, which will give it a bit of a kick. The diced avocado and sour cream will balance the heat, but if you can’t tolerate anything spicy, omit the cayenne.

If you don’t know how to cube an avocado, please refer to my Mixed Green Salad Topped With Crispy Salmon for instructions.

chicken broths vary in terms of the amount of sodium. When I use canned chicken broth, I opt for reduced sodium, and I based this recipe’s amount of salt on that. If you’re using chicken broth that isn’t less sodium, reduce the amount of salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. After you puree (that means blend it until smooth) the soup, taste it, and if it needs a bit more salt, add it while the soup is still warm.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 small onion, chopped (see how to chop an onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (see how to chop garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 16-ounce cans black beans
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, either white or brown
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 avocado, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
  • a few cilantro leaves, optional

1.Open the cans of beans and pour the beans into a strainer. Run cold water over them until they’re totally rinsed. Gently shake the strainer to release excess water.

2.In a saucepan over moderate heat, cook the onion and garlic in the oil until they’re softened, about 5 minutes.

3.Add the broth, black beans, oregano, cumin, cayenne, brown or white sugar, salt, pepper, and sherry. Bring to a boil.

4.Cover the pan and lower the heat so the soup is gently bubbling. This is called simmering. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

5.Turn off the heat and remove the cover of the pan. Let the soup cool for about 10 minutes so you don’t get burned by splattering soup when you blend it. Either put the soup into a food processor fitted with a steel blade to puree it, or use an immersion blender (the stick blender). See the instructions above if using the stick blender.

6.Taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Refrigerate until it’s cold. It tastes even better if it’s made a day ahead.

7.To serve, ladle some of the soup into a bowl. Top with a dollop of sour cream, a few cubes of avocado, and a cilantro leaf.

Grocery Bag: Chilled Black Bean Soup With Avocado