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Monday, August 29, 2016

Homemade Black Bean Soup with Crispy Tortillas (Recipe)

This ultrasimple soup from Food and Wine's Melissa Rubel Jacobson requires little more than a couple of cans of black beans, some onion and a bit of cumin.  The surprise ingredient is pickled jalapeño, which adds a nice bit of tanginess and heat.


Vegetable oil, for frying
Three 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into narrow wedges
Kosher salt
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Two 15-ounce cans black beans
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Freshly ground pepper

4 Servings - Total: 35min


1.  In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over moderately high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°. Add the tortillas and fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp and lightly golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortillas to paper towels to drain; season with salt.
2.  In a medium soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil used to fry the tortillas. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and their liquid and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a few tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cilantro and serve.

The soup can be refrigerated and the tortillas kept in an airtight container overnight.

*  Earthy black bean soup is delicious with a bold, lower-tannin red wine like Malbec.  Look for the 2008 Catena from star producer Laura Catena or the 2006 Añoro from sommelier Ken Fredrickson.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Daniel Boulud Chilled Spring Pea Soup (Recipe)

Spring pea soup can be a very labor-intensive recipe, since it ordinarily calls for fresh English peas that must be shelled.  But this adaptation of a signature recipe from star chef Daniel Boulud calls for sugar snaps and frozen baby peas, which don't require shelling.


8 slices of bacon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Two 4-inch rosemary sprigs
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
Two 10-ounce boxes frozen baby peas
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, minced 

6 Servings - Total: 45min


1.  In a medium soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. Pour off the fat in the pot.
2.  In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock, 4 slices of the cooked bacon, 1 rosemary sprig and a pinch each of salt and white pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the bacon and rosemary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a blender.
3.  Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snaps and cook for 3 minutes. Add the frozen baby peas and the parsley and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute; drain. Add the sugar snaps, baby peas and parsley to the blender and puree until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of the broth to loosen the mixture. Transfer the soup and the remaining broth to a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water to cool.
4.  In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, garlic and remaining rosemary sprig to a boil. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Strain the garlic cream into a bowl and let cool.
5.  Ladle the chilled pea soup into bowls and drizzle with the garlic cream. Crumble the remaining 4 slices of bacon into each bowl and serve.

The pea soup and garlic cream can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days.

*  Lively, grassy Austrian Gruner Veltliner is an unparalleled match for spring vegetables like the peas in this soup.  Pour the 2009 Loimer Lois or the 2009 Grooner.