I don't usually have much time after coming home from work to get dinner on the table, so my black bean soup has become a staple. It takes roughly 30 minutes to prepare, it's easy to take it vegan*, and it's frickin' delicious! My family, including the kids, eat it without complaint so that's a winner in my book.
But one can get tired of the same ol' version over and over again. So recently, when I stumbled across a package of panchetta in my local grocery store (and at a reasonable price) I couldn't resist. I used it as my base flavoring agent and viola! An old favorite with a twist! Perfect for a chilly winter's night.
-one handful panchetta
-one medium onion, chopped roughly
-one bell pepper, chopped roughly
-two stalks celery, chopped
-1/2 tsp oregano
-freshly cracked black pepper
-2 15oz. cans of black beans, drained
-4 c. chicken or vegetable stock (or 2 c. stock & 2 c. water to make it stretch)
-salt to taste
-shredded sharp cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream for garnish
In a large stock pot, saute the panchetta until crisp and the fat has rendered out. Remove from pan. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Saute until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in cumin, coriander, oregano (crushing to release oils), pepper, stirring. Gently stir in black beans. Add stock and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Afterwards, puree with stick blender or transfer to blender and carefully puree until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with panchetta, cheese, tortilla strips, and sour cream. Enjoy!
*To make it vegan, take out the panchetta and use 1 tablespoon of olive oil to saute the vegetables and use only vegan stock. We're meat-eaters, but we love this version just as much.