Thursday, November 12, 2009

Black bean soup

Last night this was actually black bean soup with venison, thanks to a packet of venison from my mom. Thanks Mom!

A local grocery store here, Henry's, sells a lot of bulk drygoods. I can get quinoa and dried beans there in bulk, which is nice. I usually start a bean soup a couple days in advance. Day 1: soak the beans overnight. Day 2: rinse beans, cook them all day in a Crock Pot on low. Just add water, no seasonings. If you cook them twice, it cooks out all of the, shall we say, undesirable side effects of beans. Two days of prep sounds like a lot, but really it involved about three minutes over two days, two minutes of which were getting the Crock Pot down.

So, Day 3: standard soup preparation. I sauteed an onion and some garlic in bacon fat, added a jar of canned tomatoes and the venison, and all the beans. Add stock and seasonings (in this case, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika). Let cook on low for, oh, let's say, 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream. Total prep time: about 30 minutes. I've also made this same soup with ground beef or sausage; just add the meat to the onion and garlic and let cook before adding the tomatoes and beans.

Total cost: tomatoes and venison were free. Black beans: maybe 75 cents worth? Pennies for the onion, garlic and seasonings, all bought in bulk. Broth: homemade. Sour cream: actually also free, as it was leftover from an office lunch meeting (burritos). So total cost of soup, being generous: maybe $1.00. At least six servings' worth.

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