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Monday, June 21, 2010

Black Bean Soup with Asparagus

Black beans are one of the most important health foods you should be adding to your diet. Not only are beans a great source of fiber and many nutrients, they also make an inexpensive meal.

This recipe is fast, flexible and easy to make. Adjust the amount of cumin used or use a spicy version of salsa. The flavors can be adjusted to suit your own taste.

1 19 oz can Black Beans
2 cups Salsa, or Crushed or Diced Tomatoes,
1 TB Olive Oil
1/2 to 1 tsp Cumin Seed, crushed
1 to 1 1/2 cups Water, Vegetable or Chicken Broth or Asparagus Cooking Water
1/2 pound Asparagus

Drain the beans, but save the liquid to thin the soup, if needed. Put the beans in a blender with the salsa.

Crush the cumin seed and cook it in a small skillet in the olive oil, until it sizzles and the aromas begin to release. Add the cumin see to the blender. Add about 1/2 cup bean liquid, water or broth. Purée until very smooth. Pour soup into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Cut off the tips, then cut the rest of it into fairly small pieces, about the same in length as the asparagus is thick. Cook the asparagus in a separate pot until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Reserve the asparagus tips and use them to garnish the soup. Put the rest of the asparagus into the soup, and thin the soup with some of the asparagus cooking water if it is too thick. Test and adjust the seasonings. Be careful not to overdo the salt; some of the ingredients called for can have quite a bit. A little pepper may be all that's needed. Serve the soup when it is hot, garnished with the asparagus tips.

Serves 4.

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