New Years’ Mexican Black Bean Soup with Lime Salsa and Yogurt

The last day of the year has come round fast! It’s been a whirlwind of a year to say least. For me, it has been a year of changes and transformation. As already mentioned in my last post, I had some big changes within my professional field. Having moved into a full-time role as culinary manager meant I had to give up being a therapist and coach. It wasn’t an easy decision to take, but so far has been the best one I have taken since I finished my studies. It also meant I had to cut back on blogging and writing, which I want to start doing more again in the new year. I also want to expand my horizon on the culinary and creative front, so I am excited to see what the near year will bring. I created this recipe for Love East Magazine, so some of you may already know it. But since a blog also is a journal, I am publishing it here too. This way no one misses out. This simple, but delicious and nutritious Mexican black bean soup can be prepared in advance and even tastes better the next day.

I did quite a bit of research and found that there are many variations of this recipe. What I learned was, that the trick lies in the sofrito and the spices being used. There are various combinations of spices, so if you feel you are missing some oregano or anything else you usually like in your black bean soup, please feel free to add it. I even made a burrito style one, as my first version, which was pretty yummy. However, using smoked paprika did not work for me too much, as I wanted a more traditional soup. A burrito dish will follow soon though as it was too good, not to share.

Black beans have a higher plant protein content than any other bean, so they make a great post workout choice. Furthermore, like other beans, they are packed with gut health-promoting fibre, minerals phytonutrients. Black beans are in fact up there with blueberries and red cabbage when it comes to antioxidants and although black beans are quite high in starch, it mainly is the resistant type. It is not converted into sugars, but rather passes the digestive tract undigested, helping us to get trim and fit again after the Christmas party season.

Fresh coriander, garlic, chili, and lime, plus natural yogurt are a great combination to support your immune system and gut bacteria. They particularly love the garlic, fibre from the beans and the natural yogurt. Black beans also count to the top three foods for zinc, a mineral that is particularly needed for immune function, so you might want to cook a bigger batch.

Mexican black bean soup

Ingredients: ideally organic – serves 2
400g black beans (canned)
100g cherry tomatoes cut in quarters
1 ripe avocado- cut in slices
1 red pepper – chopped in 1 cm cubes
1 red onion- finely chopped
1 clove of garlic- grated
1 bay leaf
2 red chili pepper
1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp of coriander seeds
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
2 tsp of mild chili powder
400ml Vegetable stock
150g of natural full-fat yogurt
2 fresh lime (unwaxed)
1 bunch of fresh coriander
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt

Method:
1. Bring 400ml of water to a boil, add the vegetable stock and stir until dissolved. Prepare the vegetables and set aside. De-seed and finely slice one of the chili peppers and just pierce the other one with a sharp knife.
2. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat in a large frying pan, then transfer into a mortar and finely grind. You can also use already ground spices, no need to toast those.
3. Using the same frying pan, heat up 1-2 tsp of oil and saute 3/4 of the onions and peppers for 4-5 min. until soft. Then add the tomatoes, the whole pierced chili pepper, garlic, bay leaf, freshly ground spices and simmer for 10 min. until soft.
4. In the meantime, drain the beans, keeping the liquid. Wash, zest and juice one of the limes cut the other one in wedges, and finely chop 3/4 of the coriander including the stem.
5. For the coriander yogurt, place the yogurt in a bowl, mix with 2 tbsp of lime juice, a generous pinch of sea salt, half the chopped coriander, 1 tbsp of finely chopped red onion, stir well
and season to taste with more salt and a little bit of freshly ground pepper. For the lime salsa, place the remaining lime juice in a small jar, add 1 tbsp of finely chopped onion and coriander, 1/2 tsp of fresh chili and a good pinch of salt. Stir well and set aside. If you do not like spicy food, don’t add the chili.
6. Once the sofrito is ready, transfer into a medium sized pot, add beans and the vegetable stock and simmer everything for about 15 min. Once cooked, take out the chili and bay leaf and using a blender, blend half of the soup, so that you will end up with a creamy but chunky soup. No need to do this in a separate pot, just part blend the soup as it is. If you prefer a creamy soup, you can blend all of it.
7. Then cut the avocado in half, remove the stone with a teaspoon, then using a tablespoon scoop out the flesh and cut into thin slices. Place in a bowl and drizzle with some lime salsa. This will add flavour and prevent them going brown.

Seve the piping hot soup topped with a tsp of coriander yogurt, a few slices of avocado, fresh coriander, lime salsa and zest, wedges and for those who like it how, some more finely chopped chili.

Enjoy and wishing everyone a very Happy and exciting New Year 2019 full of adventures

xx