How can I describe this soup? Spicy, Sultry, Salivatory, Spicy…oh wait, I said spicy already. Well, it’s that spicy. I did use a habanero instead of a poblano…hmm. But not to fear – it doesn’t set your mouth on fire, and the heat doesn’t linger. It’s just a nice flavor enhancement. But if you don’t care for spicy heat like I do, then either omit the peppers and keep all the spices, or add the peppers and omit the cayenne from the spice blend. Of course, I did have a glass of wine with it, so that could’ve helped the heat dissipate faster than it would’ve if I had just been drinking water. A nice glass of iced tea would also do the trick, or going the traditional Crescent City route: a Hurricane.
This is a recipe Dad requested, well actually he wanted traditional red beans and rice..but then I found this soup recipe – but not to fear, I’ll still try to find a regular red beans and rice dish. This recipe is adapted from Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from the Magnolia Grill. And for those, like Dad, who want to make this recipe even easier to prepare, use canned beans and begin at step 2. You’ll also reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes. What I did was start the brown rice (which takes 45-50 min), then begin chopping and making the soup. When the time beeped for the rice, the soup was done too – so that’s approx 1 hour from first chop of the onion to serving the soup if using canned (or precooked) beans. This recipe should serve 6 normal, or 4 hungry people.
*For the soup:
1 pound small red beans, picked over (or 1 can red beans)
3 TBSP olive oil
1 C onion, cut into small dice
1/2 C yellow or orange bell pepper, small dice (*you could also use green if that’s what you’re in to)
1/2 C red bell pepper, cut into small dice
2 ribs celery, cut into small dice
1 poblano chile, cut into small dice *optional
1 jalapeno, chopped, with seeds
1/2 C chopped garlic (a half cup, that’s not a typo)
1 bay leaf
1/4 C Creole Spice blend
1 can diced, seeded, tomatoes; juice and all
4-4.25 C vegetable broth *or a combo of broth and water
salt, black pepper, tabasco, and cider vinegar to taste
*For the rice and garnish:
1 C cooked long-grain white (or brown) rice
2 TBSP each chopped cilantro, oregano, and basil (if using fresh herbs, go for 2-3 tsp of each)
1 C scallions, trimmed and sliced on the bias, or chopped fresh cilantro *optional
1. The night before making the soup, pick through the beans to remove any debris and split beans. Rinse the beans, transfer to a container, cover with double their volume of cold water and refrigerate overnight.
2. Make the spice blend. Heat the oil over medium heat, and saute the onion, bell peppers, and celery until the veg are softened and being to caramelize on the edges. Add the poblano, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaf and creole spices. Cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 C of their juice, and the red beans. Bring to a simmer.
3. Add broth; bring to a boil and cook at a simmer until the beans are done (20 min if using canned, about 45 min to 1 hour +15 minutes if using dried). Remove the bay leaf.
4. Add salt to taste, then remove 1 C of beans and veg and puree in a food processor. Stir the puree into the soup.
5. Warm the soup over low heat and adjust the consistency with more broth or water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, along with any Tabasco and/or cider vinegar you wish to add. Keep hot!
6. Into each of 6 large bowls, spoon 2 TBSP of cooked rice tossed with the fresh herbs (salted, but I wouldn’t add any other spices, especially pepper – there will be plenty in the soup itself). Fill with soup. Sprinkle with scallions, if using, and serve immediately.
This soup should keep a few days, so you can take it for lunch several days if you’re making it for just yourself.
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