Black Bean Soup with Whole Wheat Croutons
I learned to make this soup when I lived in South Miami and it seemed that every single dish was spicy and satisfying. This makes the perfect buffet dish as it holds its character even when it’s on the heat for a long time.
Makes 4-5 servings
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 small leek, sliced lengthwise, rinsed well and diced
Pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons saffron, soaked in small amount warm water
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup black turtle beans, rinsed well
1 bay leaf
5 cups spring or filtered water
3-4 springs flatleaf parsley, for garnish
1 cup whole grain sourdough croutons (see below)
In a soup pot, place olive oil, onion and leek on medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, sauté for for 3-4 minutes with a pinch of salt. Stir in saffron and soaking water and red pepper flakes. Add celery and carrot and saute 3-4 minutes more. Top with black beans and stir briefly, just to coat the beans with oil. Add water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until beans are soft, about an hour, but it loves to be cooked for longer. Season to taste with salt and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve garnished with parsley and several croutons per bowl.
COOK’S TIP: The best croutons are made from slightly stale whole grain sourdough bread that is cubed and dried in a warm oven until crispy. Then, simply pan fry them until they brown at the edges.