Sometimes my forgetfulness pays off.
On my hour-long commute home from work the other day, a soup craving hit me. Lentil soup, to be exact. And rightfully so—it’s been a bit chilly this week. (I’ve even broken out my light sweaters and switched my flip flops to closed toe shoes!) I’m a firm believer in sticking to what I deem as “warm weather” and “cold weather” dishes at the appropriate time of year. But, because of the sudden temperature change, I’ve finally decided that it is officially okay to start making comforting, heartwarming dishes. (Though, let me remind you, technically Fall doesn’t start till the 22nd of September. We still have a few days left!) So, don’t worry—I’ll wait for the true end of summer to make my first big batch of chili.
After getting in and out of the grocery store in less than five minutes—not an easy feat at most times of the day—I arrive home, proud of my accomplishment, only to realize I forgot a key component of my lentil soup: the lentils. Oops… There’s a reason I almost always write down my shopping list, even if there’s only three items on it. I’m a bit scatterbrained most of the time. To-do lists, shopping lists, and other random notes to myself are written on various Post-it notes stuck to my desk at home and work help keep my life organized.
Fortunately, my resourcefulness and ability to think on my feet counterbalances my forgetfulness. I made a quick decision, based on what I had at home, to make black bean soup instead. It only required swapping the (missing) lentils for canned black beans, and switching to cumin and thyme instead of using rosemary and sage.
Black Bean Soup
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 1/2 TBS minced garlic
- 2 TBS ground cumin
- 1 TBS dried thyme leaves (not ground)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Salt to taste (it will vary on the chicken broth you’re using)
- 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth
- 1 package Fresh Turkey Sausage (Italian Seasoned), casings removed
- 3 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed.
Over medium heat, with 2-3 TBS of olive oil, sweat the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed stockpot until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add turkey sausage (with casings removed), breaking up into pieces. (I broke mine up a lot so that it resembled ground meat.) Saute until almost cooked through. Add cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook a few minutes more, stirring often. Pour in chicken broth and black beans. Bring to boil. Stir, turn down heat to low to bring to a simmer, and cover with lid. Continue to cook soup for about an hour, stirring every once in awhile. After an hour, take off lid, taste soup, adjust seasoning if needed, and cook for about 10-15 minutes longer without the lid to slightly reduce the broth. Serve into bowls and enjoy.
This was a quick soup in comparison to how long I sometimes let my soup simmer covered on the stove. If you have more time, I only see this getting better by being cooked longer.
If you would like a little heat, try using hot Italian sausage. Cumin is not spicy, but smokey (and delicious!).
Go ahead and use fresh pork sausage if you’d like. Pork tends to disagree with me so I stay away from it for the most part. In either case (pork or turkey), buy the Italian seasoned kind. The herbs and spices added to the sausage add a lot of flavor to the soup.
While I really enjoy this recipe as is, I could potentially enjoy a little more cumin—but I love cumin and wonder if I’ve become a little immune to the taste of it.
If I had planned ahead, I assume this recipe would be even better made with dried black beans that were soaked over night. It would then be cooked longer on the stove, so that the beans cook through and letting all the flavors develop even more. If you have the time and forethought, I encourage this method if you do not need to make a quick soup.