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I’m pretty sure that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. As the days get darker, so does my mood. Last weekend’s freakish hailstorm not only left my car a little dimpled, but it reminded me that Summer was, most definitely, over.

Goodbye Summer...

In an effort to alleviate my impending gloominess, a few years ago at about this time of year, a friend and I decided to make a list titled, ‘ALL THAT IS GOOD ABOUT WINTER’. To be fair to Winter, it does have a couple of things going for it. Our list included mohair rugs, warm coats and boots, wooly tights, fireplaces, rain on tin roofs, and soup. Her boyfriend added ‘footy season’, which I suppose is good if you’re that way inclined.

Anyway, the rain last week reminded me to begin focusing on the positives of Winter, so I decided to make a batch of my all-time favourite soup to take my mind off having to wear a jumper for the first time in months.

This recipe is based on one in Jude Blereau’s book, Wholefood. This is one of my favourite cookbooks. Blereau’s philosophy is all about creating sustaining, healthful, unprocessed food that nourishes your body, mind and soul. Plus, it’s almost all vegetarian and wheat-free, which works for us!

As an extra plus, this recipe uses black-beans, which are incredibly good for you. I wouldn’t usually republish someone else’s recipe so closely, but this one’s pretty much perfect as it is!

Spicy black bean soup

200g/1 cup black (turtle) beans
olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
¼ teaspoon of dried thyme (I used oregano, that’s what was in the cupboard)
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander stem
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
2 carrots, diced
425g/1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (I used pumpkin, there was not sweet potato at the shop)
1 corn cob, kernels removed
½ red capsicum, diced
3 litres of vegetable stock or water (Stock recipe here, though water works surprisingly well)
5cm strip of kombu
3 teaspoons tomato paste
Apple juice concentrate, to taste
Tamari, to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (Blereau advises to use chipotle chilli, but I have only found these once and they were a bit expensive)
Coriander leaves, to garnish

  • First, soak the beans in water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the beans.
  • Add some oil to a large saucepan. Fry the onion, dried herbs, cumin, coriander stems and garlic on a low heat until the onion is softened, about five to ten minutes.
  • Add the black beans, carrots, sweet potato or pumpkin, corn kernels, capsicum, water or stock, kombu and tomato paste.
  • Maintaining a medium-low heat, bring the soup to a low simmer, and cook, partially covered, for about 90 minutes. Check the soup occasionally to top up the liquid and give it a stir. If you have the heat on too high, the black beans and vegetables can blow apart as they become softened.
  • Add the tamari (for saltiness) and the apple juice concentrate (for sweetness) to taste. Simmer the soup for another 30 minutes, until it has thickened up.
  • Sprinkle the paprika over the soup and stir in. Be careful not to add too much – it can taste too smokey.
  • Garnish with herbs, such as coriander leaves, and eat.

I can’t emphasise enough how much I love this soup. I have a feeling that it’s going to be getting a good run this year and it just might make the coming months a little brighter!

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2 Responses to “Black bean soup: my Autumnal saviour”

  1. Anna says:

    I eat black beans regularly and after reading this blog post I filed the recipe in my head under ‘try sometime’. I got there eventually and made it last night! It was superbly delicious, even with a few more alterations (I didn’t have the kombu, or the apple juice concentrate – I improvised by adding some apple cider vinegar mixed with honey!).

    Black beans are the most amazing bean – they are so full of flavour. I slow cooked them before adding them to the soup and they filled the house with the most intoxicatingly delicious smell. Thanks for posting this!

    • Saskia says:

      Thanks Anna – yes black beans are where it’s at!

      I love your creative substitution – that’s what cooking is all about.

      This is a great soup. I don’t exactly know why but it’s a perfect balance of sweet, savoury, hearty and light…

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