Hearty Black Bean Soup

I’ve been making homemade soups for as long as I can remember. I still like making my soups from scratch because they just plain taste better. Besides, homemade soups will always be healthier than any canned soup – period. However, life gets in the way and we all get busy and I thought, how could I still get great tasting soups, without spending 1 or 2 hours in the kitchen?

So, my husband was at the grocery store a few months ago and went over to the gluten free section to see what they have that’s new and interesting. He picked up a couple different types of bean soup. At first, I wasn’t so sure, but decided to give it an honest go and see how the soup would taste.

My first go around, I followed the directions for the most part, however, like any good chef – experimenting is part of my DNA. The first one that I tried out was the Black Bean Soup made by Frontier Soups. Although, I’ve never really heard of them before, they have been in business for 25 years and have a great website to check out. Just in their gluten free section, they have a selection of 28 gluten free soup mixes.

Although the manufacturing is not a gluten free facility, they do follow strict guidelines in ensuring when they make batches of their gluten free soups, stringent protocols are followed. For example Frontier Soups, is a participant in the Celiac Sprue Association. This is an organization that reviews manufacturing procedures and practices to ensure that they their product is gluten free.

As well and something that I found useful is the detail in which each facility is carefully screened in accordance with the applicable laws under the FDA. For example, to ensure they meet all of the requirements, they receive a thorough review of the ingredients, facility itself, the packaging materials and finally, testing. The CSA seal of approval is reserved for only the best of the best. This is why it’s critical when buying gluten free products, that there is testing behind the product.

OK, time to get down to the actual recipe and the fun part.

Directions:

First, rinse the beans thoroughly, and then place them into a bowl with 8 cups of water approximately and overnight. I soaked them for a few hours the first time I made this soup and it turned out good.

Second, the next day, drain and place the beans into a pot with 8 cups of fresh cold water. You want to bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer while covered for about 90 minutes. You want the beans to be tender, but not really mushy.

Third, in a separate pot, I would recommend you sauté a chopped onion and some garlic in some quality oil. Usually, I will do the onion for a few minutes first and then add the garlic in the last couple of minutes to make sure you don’t burn the garlic. If you burn it, start over because it won’t taste right.

Fourth, add the bean and broth from the other pot. Add in your seasoning pouch that comes with the soup mix. Again, bring this to a boil and then reduce to simmer for about 90 minutes. This may change depending on your stove and what over ingredients you decide to add in. The first time I made the soup, I added in a bunch of other vegetables to try it out. I found the soup was just too thick. Really, the only vegetable I would add in would be the onion.

If you are vegetarian, you want to add in vegetarian broth instead of what they recommend which is chicken stock.

Fifth, season the soup according to your own taste. I know from the package, they mention adding in salt, which is what you can do for some flavoring. They even mention adding in orange juice, which I haven’t done and the soup tastes great. You have to ultimately decide which seasonings you want or don’t want. That’s the best part of making homemade soups. You can experiment to your liking.

The soup mix contains the following; black beans, black turtle beans, black eye peas, peppers, carrots, onions, celery, shallots, cayenne and spices. If you are looking for an easy to make, yet delicious and hearty soup for lunch or dinner, this is a great option.

 

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