Thursday, November 11, 2010

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Every once in a while leftover ingredients and pantry staples come together to create delicious surprises. I ended up modifying this recipe so much (both intentionally and accidentally) that I'm not sure it can even be said to be adapted at this point. This recipe was built around the leftover pumpkin puree from the weekend's cheesecake. It also ended up using leftover onions, shallots, black beans, and red wine. With red wine, red wine vinegar became a necessary (and amazing) substitute. There was no beef broth to be found, so chicken was substituted instead. I may have been a little short on cumin and I couldn't pass up the prosciutto at the Val-Mont in place of ham. The cooking method also changed slightly for a smoother final texture and more convenience. Finally, I only realized while pondering why my soup looked so different from Smitten Kitchen that I'd forgotten to include the tomatoes (I may have also accidentally used more beans because I used dried beans instead of canned). Even with all of these changes (or maybe in part because?), the end result was better than I could've imagined it would be.

One year ago: Another soup ... also amazing!

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup (inspired by Smitten Kitchen, from Gourmet)

2 cups dried black beans (soaked, cooked, and drained ... or you could use 3 cans)
1 1/4 cups chopped onion (more or less)
1/2 cup minced shallot (more or less)
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tsp epazote (optional, but recommended with dried beans)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup red wine
125g prosciutto, chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1. In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, epazote, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown.
2. Stir in beans.
3. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and red wine until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender.
5. Just before serving, add prosciutto and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.

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