I don’t know if it was the crazy weather, or the fact that Rick dumped an entire packet of lettuce seeds in the garden. Whatever the reason, we had an insane lettuce crop this year. And that made me so very happy. I could happily eat salad for every meal.
However, there are limits to what I can consume. Try as I might, I could not keep up with the harvest. So imagine my profound happiness when a friend whispered two magic words in my ear — lettuce soup.
Really. It’s a thing. Traditionally it’s made with potatoes. But I’m trying to give up carbs as much as I can, so I got create. Okay, not too creative. I simply substituted cauliflower for the potatoes. The result: O.M.G.
This is one of the most delicious and satisfying snacks I have ever made. It is rich and creamy, smooth and satisfying. I put it in jelly jars and froze it, which was one of the smarter choices I’ve made. It freezes beautifully, so you can just pull one out in the morning and have a nice afternoon snack. It’s good hot, warm, or cold…whatever you’re in the mood for.
I’m going to stop writing now and get to the recipe. Enjoy!
6, 8 oz servings
62 calories per serving
1 cup chopped onions and/or shallots
2 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup diced cauliflower
8 cups coarsely chopped lettuce leaves including ribs (3/4 lb)
3 cups water
Cook onion mixture and garlic in 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Stir in cauliflower, lettuce, and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes.
Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) and salt and pepper to taste.
We had a historic snow storm yesterday and I’ve got the sore muscles to prove it. So. much. shoveling. Fortunately, I’ve got the phone numbers for a few neighborhood teenagers looking to earn some extra cash. So this afternoon, I will hunker down with a bowl of black bean soup and gaze out the window, watching them work.
Snow storms make me want to cook soup. In addition to pulling out this tried and true black bean soup recipe, I also made roasted tomato soup and turkey chipotle chili (recipes to come). Black bean soup just makes me happy. Well, anything with cumin and cilantro in it makes me happy. I love how the flavors meld with the beans.
I also like how hearty this soup is. I feel like I’ve eaten a stew more than a soup, and it gives me the energy to do whatever needs doing (like shoveling more snow, or strapping on the snowshoes for a romp in the neighborhood).
Also, this is super easy to make! I tend to use canned beans because, well, I never plan far enough in advance to soak the beans. Either way is great.
Black Bean Soup Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes (if using canned beans)
Cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
2 cans black beans (or 1 lb bag dried black beans)
4 to 6 cups stock (I used turkey, but you can keep this vegan/vegetarian with vegetable stock)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 Tbs cumin
½ tsp cayenne
cilantro (as much as you like…I use an entire bunch)
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 tsp salt
If you’re using dry beans, you need to prep them the night before. Pick over beans and remove any that are an odd color; rinse well. Place in a large bowl with cold water, enough to cover them by 2 inches. Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain. To cook, put in a sauce pan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours (I check in every 20 minutes to test and add more water).
Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the green pepper and jalapeno, and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté another 2 minutes.
Add the stock, black beans, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.
Puree about three quarters of the soup in a blender until fairly smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids—they can make the blender explode. I either cool the soup before blending, or I blend in very small batches).
Return the pureed soup to the pot and heat through.
Serve the soup garnished with a pico de gallo (pictured) or dollop of sour cream (or plain greek yogurt) and cilantro, if desired.
We are about six hours into Snowtastrophe 2016, and so far so good. The snow is getting deep though. I think tomorrow morning isn’t going to be fun. Not so much because I’ll have to shovel a foot of snow, but because three dogs will be anxiously waiting to get out to pee while I’m doing it. Now that is pressure!
Before I turn in for a good night’s sleep, I thought I’d finally post the green beans with mushrooms and bacon recipe I made for Christmas dinner. Yes, I realize that was a month ago. But it’s been a crazy month (being sick, going out of town, and life). Better late than never though.
Also, on a totally unrelated note, my Cherry Blossom 10M training kicked off Thursday night! I’m pretty excited. You can read all about it on Coach Kim’s blog. I’m really hoping this program gets me re-energized about running. I’ve been a little lack luster the past few months. It will be nice to have a reason to show up. But first, the green beans…
Green Beans With Mushrooms and Bacon
source: MyRecipes.com (with very slight modifications on my part)
1.25 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
5 bacon slices
3 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 shallot, diced finely
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Bring about 4 quarts of water to boil in a dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium high and add beans. Cook beans for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium low heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 1/2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Discard remaining drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside.
Sauté mushrooms and shallots in hot bacon drippings over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until shallots are tender. Add green beans and crushed red pepper; sauté 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in crumbled bacon, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
You can serve this warm or cool (it was room temperature by the time we ate it, and was delicious).