Saturday, October 23, 2010

of soup and friendship

Today I had a genuine day off, the first in far too long. I didn't do much: read a bit, drank coffee alone at my desk--I've fashioned myself a bit of a me-corner, with photos and my computer and a notepad and a green plant that smells like limes when you rub the leaves--embroiled myself in some various forms of correspondence, and called it a day. For the first time in weeks and weeks I felt like I wasn't running myself ragged, and god, that felt good. I wasn't entirely unproductive, though. I made soup.

My friend Rose-Anne and I did this thing a while back that we called the Tandem Posting Project; every other week we choose a topic and we both wrote a post about our reflections on and around that idea. We talked about long-distance friendships, favorite recipes, and even dirt, but eventually writer's block and a trip to Europe got in the way and we haven't resumed yet. I feel guilty about this, but I'm uncertain I'm up to the task of writing anything--much less something topical and with a deadline--and so the project has languished in a corner of my mind, waiting. But tonight I made a soup from Rose-Anne's blog, a pumpkin soup with chewy hominy and tangy tomatillos that I just freaking loved, and it occurred to me that I have a pumpkin soup recipe of my own to offer up. And so! A homage to the on-hiatus Tandem Posting Project.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

The funny thing is that even though I've been utterly overwhelmed by basically everything lately, my cooking has been going really well. I cook nearly every night, mostly new recipes, and I'm more willing to adapt things all willy-nilly and just sort of go with what I think will be good. Sometimes this is mediocre--there was a weird cauliflower moment a few weeks ago, for instance--but often it's not too bad. This recipe is loosely adapted from (seriously, folks), a website dedicated entirely to pumpkin soup recipes. I've never had much of a love for sweet soups, so it was a relief to discover last year that there were good savory ones out in the world, lovingly collated by some pumpkin soup aficionado out there for my own personal benefit. This one--it's in the International Pumpkin Soups section--has bite and creaminess, and I love the use of black beans, chilies, and coconut milk together.

Rose-Anne, this recipe isn't as elegant as yours always are. I'm afraid my memory is bad, and I don't always remember what it is that I do when I cook. I don't measure or time, and this might well be wrong in several different ways, so be vigilant if you try this at home. Consider this a rough draft, but one that I believe will work just fine. I enjoyed your soup, and if I ever refine mine I'll serve it to you some autumn visit.

2-3 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
2-4 cloves garlic, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 can pumpkin puree or equivalent amount fresh pumpkin puree
4 cups vegetable broth
4-6 cups water
2 cans black beans
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
lime juice to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, and saute the onion until it begins to become translucent. Add the jalapeño, garlic, cumin, and thyme and saute for another minute. Add the broth, water, and sweet potato to the pot and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer until the sweet potato becomes very soft, roughly ten to fifteen minutes. Coarsely mash with a potato masher, then add the pumpkin and black beans and simmer for ten more minutes, adding more water if the soup seems too thick. Add the coconut milk, salt and pepper. Serve with lime juice on the side, to taste.

1 comment:

a said...

Also, I should note that this works fine without the sweet potato. You can also just use pumpkin (fresh or canned) or squash. I use whatever's on hand.