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Monday, June 21, 2010

Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup

This Caribbean-inspired soup combines pumpkin, black beans, tomatoes and sherry, with a sprinkle of queso fresco to top it off. A delicious soup for Halloween evening or even Thanksgiving Day.

1 1/2 cups Diced Canned Tomatoes, drained
2 (15 oz) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp Olive Oil
Cooking Spray
1 1/2 cups Onions, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 cups Fat-Free Chicken Broth
2 TB Sherry Vinegar
1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
2 TB Dry Sherry
1 cup (4 oz) Queso Fresco* , crumbled (or substitute Feta cheese)
1/2 cup Green Onions, sliced
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Place tomatoes and beans in a food processor; process until about half of the beans are smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion to the pan; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cumin and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add bean mixture, broth, vinegar, pepper and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in sherry. Ladle about 1 cup of soup into each of 6 bowls, and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons queso fresco and 1 tablespoon green onions each. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Serves 6.

* The U.S. version of queso fresco is soft, moist, mild and crumbly cheese for sprinkling over enchiladas or black bean soup or crumbling onto a salad. Sadly, most of the versions in the U.S. do not melt very well. In Mexico the cheese is used to stuff chiles or for quesadillas.

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