This is my second post about my foray into cooking. My first post was an Avocado Caprese Salad, which seemed pretty doable. So I thought my next would be to make a soup. I figured it wouldn’t be so intimidating since it is a bunch of ingredients combined into a liquid! Whether you are into Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop philosophy, her new book has been really handy for me. The book is called “It’s All Easy,” and I can confirm that it truly is. I mean, everything I have made hasn’t been a masterpiece or anything, but they all tasted pretty good. Plus, most of her recipes use under 10 ingredients including seasonings, which is ideal for a beginner home cook.
This time I decided to make her Black Bean Soup (the recipe is posted online from the Daily Mail). Introductions in a cookbook can really draw a reader into attempting a recipe. Gwenyth Paltrow said that her kids loved this soup and I instantly wanted to try it. I am a person who likes simple flavours, so I thought I would like it.
Ingredients-wise, you can pretty much get all of them at the grocery store. I didn’t have chipotle chili powder, so I just used plain chili powder. One important thing to note is that if you are going to use black beans you cooked from dry beans, you have to adjust the proportions. I use the same amount as listed in the recipe and it wasn’t enough beans, so not I only did I not make enough, but it was so salty! A 400 g or 15 oz can of beans is equal to about a little more than 1 and a 1/2 cup of cooked beans.
I made the recipe twice and learned from my mistakes, so I thought I would talk about the process comparing the two attempts.
Sauté the onions and then add garlic, coriander, and other spices.
First Attempt: I sautéd the onions on a pretty high heat, and turned the heat down too late. Everything got sautéd too quickly, and there was a lot of black and brown gunk sticking to the edge of the pot. It was also super spicy because I added the a half teaspoon of chile powder.
Second Attempt: I kept it on higher heat for a shorter time and left it on lower heat the rest of time. The result was that there wasn’t any of that black gunk on the sides of the pot. The ingredients were soft and melded together better. I only put in 1/4 teaspoon of chile powder and it wasn’t spicy at all so I added more. Later on, I realized I had not accounted for adding more beans the second because I got the measurements wrong initially.
Add the black beans and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
First and Second Attempt: This step went pretty well both times. Bringing to boil is pretty obvious, but simmering is hard to judge. If I noticed there were no more bubbles because I turned it too low, then I would turn up the heat a little bit.
Blend to smooth and add toppings.
First attempt: I don’t have an immersion blender so I just poured the mixture into a blender. The soup kind of got everywhere when I poured it into the blender so I see the advantage of having an immersion blender. I didn’t hold the lid tight enough and the soup seeped out a bit. Apparently, hot soup expands quite a bit when blended.
Second attempt: I used a ladle to get some of the soup out and then poured the rest in. No spilling this time. I held the lid tight this time and no problems with soup getting everywhere.
Beginner Friendly – 7/10
There wasn’t too many confusing steps except to keep the heat low during the sautéing process. The other thing that could go wrong is that you might make it too spicy initially, so definitely put in less in and add more as needed. Lastly, this is great for a quick meal. It took less than half an hour.
Taste – 8/10
The is a very flavourful and rich soup. It is definitely a good soup to have during a cold night. The toppings are not totally necessary, but give the soup a more complex taste and texture.