A Spicy White Bean Vegetable Soup to bring Warmth and Comfort

Are you a fan of soups? We love soups in the winter. Soups for lunch. Soups to start a fantastic supper. Soups for dinner. Some soups are light and refreshing. Other soups are so packed with ingredients they leave you wanting nothing more.

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Spicy Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup

I know what your are thinking – it’s the middle of July and this woman is talking soup! Has she lost her mind? July in California is usually sweltering. Hot, dry and oh so unpleasant unless you are on the water, or only come out of your climate-controlled habitat after sunset. For this very reason, the Event Industry tends to slow to a snail’s pace, which means down time for Hubby and Kiddo. It also means vacation time! This year, we will be returning to one of our our favorite place to explore – the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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Creole White Bean Soup with Vegetables

Once again, we are really stretching it here. On the National Front, it’s Orchid Day, Eggs Benedict Day, Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day (my personal favorite!), Healthcare Decision Day and National Bean Counter Day. Now I know that I could have shared a recipe for Egg Benedict today. That would have been easy. But you know me, always thinking outside the box. Bean counter – beans – bean soup! Makes sense to me!

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Six-Can Dump Soup

I have heard of dump cakes. This is the first time I’ve heard of dump soup. It reminded me a lot of my Five Easy Steps to Italian Chicken Soup, only much easier. All it takes is a can opener, a stove and a pot (or a microwave and a big bowl). This is a soup you could make while camping. Teenagers could make this soup. Even college kids with a microwave in their dorm could manage a nice bowl of soup.

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Smoky Sausage, Black Bean and Corn Soup

It’s official – soup weather is here. The chill of Autumn is in the air, and the sweet, smokey scent of wood burning in fireplaces lingers in the evening air. This is my all time favorite time of the year. Nothing compares to curling up on the sofa with a warm bowl of soup and my loving family all around me. Often Kiddo and I have a blanket over our laps. Comfort all the way. We love a fresh pot of soup to take the chill off the day.

This wonderful recipe is inspired by a recipe from William-Sonoma. Be it their tested recipes; ingredients or cooking equipment; you know William-Sonoma is a name you can trust. Naturally, I did my own tweaking, more sausage, less black bean and the introduction of corn.

The final soup was wonderful – all smoky, with wonderful big chunks of sausage and just a little kick from the cayenne pepper. When my guys sat down with soup spoons in hand and began to “slurp” their supper, all I could hear were a lot of “yums.” Thanks guys!

Smoky Sausage, Black Bean and Corn Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Orange Bell Pepper, cored and diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 Smoked Chicken Sausages, fully cooked
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
3 cans Chicken Broth
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
1 can (14 oz) corn, drained
Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Coin cut smoked Chicken Sausage. Set aside until ready to use.

In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell peppers, celery and onion and sauté until the onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage and sauté until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add 3 cans of chicken broth. Season with the cumin, smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Empty 1 can drained, rinsed black beans. Add tomatoes and corn. Stir and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Lower heat to simmer. Let soup simmer gently for 20 minutes. Soup is now ready to serve. If desired, soup can continue to summer as much as 45 minutes. If too much liquid evaporates, thin soup with additional chicken broth.

When ready to serve, ladle into warmed soup bowls. Remember to scoop all the way down to the bottom of the pot so that each bowl has a nice helping of sausage and vegetables.

Smoky Black Bean Soup with Corn and Rice

I adore the smell of Autumn. The sweet, smokey scent of wood burning in fireplaces lingers in the air. This is my all time favorite time of the year. Nothing compares to curling up on the sofa with a warm bowl of soup and my family all around me. Often Kiddo and I have a blanket over our laps. Comfort all the way. We love a fresh pot of soup to take the chill off the day.

This wonderful soup was inspired by a recipe from William-Sonoma. Naturally, I did my own tweaking, more sausage, less black bean and the introduction of corn the first time around.

That initial pot of soup was wonderful – all smoky, with wonderful big chunks of sausage and just a little kick from the cayenne pepper. When my guys sat down to the table with soup spoons in hand and began to “slurp” their supper, all I could hear were a lot of “yums.” Thanks guys!

It never ceases to amaze me how one or two tiny changes in a recipe can make a world of difference. The first time I made Smoky Black Bean I added the corn and it was yummy-good. The recipe cooked up enough soup for my family to have two meals. Having so much soup left over was the perfect excuse to tinker around a bit more. By adding 1 pouch of Uncle Ben’s Roasted Chicken Ready Rice to the soup, it knocked this already wonderful recipe right out of the ball park. Wow! What an amazing difference!

Smoky Black Bean Soup with Corn and Rice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Orange Bell Pepper, cored and diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 Smoked Chicken Sausages, fully cooked
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
3 cans Chicken Broth
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
1 can (14 oz) corn, drained
1 Package Uncle Ben’s Quick Rice – Roasted Chicken
Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Coin cut smoked Chicken Sausage. Set aside until ready to use.

In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell peppers, celery and onion and sauté until the onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage and sauté until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add 3 cans of chicken broth. Season with the cumin, smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Empty 1 can drained, rinsed black beans. Add tomatoes and corn. Stir and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Lower heat to simmer. Let soup simmer gently for 20 minutes. Soup is now ready to serve. If desired, soup can continue to summer as much as 45 minutes. If too much liquid evaporates, thin soup with additional chicken broth.

Ten minutes before serving, zap Uncle Ben’s Quick Rice in the microwave; add to simmering soup and give everything a nice stir.

When ready to serve, ladle into warmed soup bowls. Remember to scoop all the way down to the bottom of the pot so that each bowl has a nice helping of sausage and vegetables.

TGIF – Black Bean Soup

Winter this year somehow got away from me. I hadn’t gotten around to making our wintertime favorites – such as soups – as much as I had wanted. Spring seemed to come early, with unseasonably warm days. The orchards all around us began to bloom. Early bloom in crop country is a bad thing. Bees aren’t out buzzing about, which means no pollination, which means no crops. We live in an agricultural area. There are a lot of orchards nearby, mainly producing nut crops. Lots of walnuts and almond trees all around us. Our house sits on what was once a large almond farm. What isn’t orchard land is cattle land – mostly dairy farms.

Early blooming can be extremely stressful for trees, especially if temperatures are mild one day then plunge the next – as is the case this year. When this happens, new growth is shocked by the sudden freeze and could be damaged.

Fruit and flower buds are especially vulnerable. If they’re hit by cold temperatures after flowering, they may not be able to bloom again later in the year because they’ve already exerted their energy. As I sit on my back patio with my hands wrapped around a warm cup of cocoa, I cannot help but worry about this year’s crop and the toll it will take on my neighbors whose livelihood depends upon Mother Nature behaving as she should.

At least I can take comfort in knowing I haven’t completely missed soup weather.

While I haven’t made this soup in a while, it’s one of our favorites.  I snagged it from one of those copy-cat sites. Gotta admit, it’s a darn good pot of soup. Kiddo and I like to garnish the soup with some chopped jalapeno for a little extra kick, but that’s purely a personal preference.

It’s a little messy to make – taking a pot, a blender and a crock pot, but there’s plenty of down time to clean up the kitchen. The soup is flavorful and filling. If you’ve got some left over; drain the liquid and smash the beans for some awesome black refried beans. These make a great filling for bean burritos. So it’s like getting two meals in one.

Hope you enjoy!

TGIF – Black Bean Soup
Ingredients – Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup diced white onion
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped Jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke

Ingredients – Garnish
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 Cup chopped green onion
1/2 Cup sour cream

Chop onions, celery and carrots. Set aside. Mince garlic. Set aside. Dice bell pepper, set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium/low heat.

Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic to the oil and simmer slowly for 15 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Keep temperature low to prevent browning. If the garlic burns, it becomes bitter.

While the vegetables are simmering, pour the canned beans into a strainer and rinse them under cold water.

Measure 3 cups of the drained and strained beans into a food processor with 1 cup of chicken stock.

Puree on high-speed until smooth. (Make sure the lid is secure!!!)

When the vegetables are ready, pour in the pureed beans, the whole beans, the rest of the chicken stock, apple cider, spices and liquid smoke.

Bring mixture to a boil, then transfer to a crock pot and simmer on LOW for 2-3 hours.

Ladle soup into terrains, garnish with cheese, green onions and sour cream as desired.

This soup goes really well with warm corn bread. Perfect for a lazy evening’s supper.