Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creamy Black Bean Soup with Roasted Fennel

Certain members of the Crispy household  have been having some tender tummies and medically-authorized restricted diets as of late. This has presented a bit of a challenge to the Crispy Cook, who, in addition to having the gluten-free diet to consider, has had to produce low-acid, low-fat , tomato, onion and garlic-free meals. I have even had to bone up on the liquid diet in preparation for one of us to have some medical tests.

Now, we love us our spice, alliums, acids and fats in our family, so this is new territory for me. I've been consulting my cookbook library in an effort to keep everybody happy and healthy during this new food adventure. While some of  us would be perfectly content sucking down Italian ices and popsicles 24/7, this is hardly a nutritious diet, so I've been constantly referring to the list of approved vegetables, fruits and seasonings, to try to come up with restorative and satisfying edibles.

There is good news that more and more, you can find grocery coupons for healthier foods. Enter this tasty cup of black bean soup. Not the most photogenic of potages, but this batch was so yummy, I will be making it again when we are back to eating our regular menu. It is soothing, full of vitamins and is pleasantly sweet. Though most other black bean soup recipes feature lots of spice, this variety is flavorful in a botanical, herbaceous kind of way.

The home run ingredient was roasted fennel. I chopped up a large bulb of fennel, feathery fronds, chunky stems and all, doused it with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a covered ceramic baking dish, and then baked it at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then I uncovered the baking dish and roasted it another 10 minutes to let it brown up. We ate some of that as a side dish for our supper and then the next day was dedicated to a liquid diet, so I decided to add the leftovers in with some sauteed carrots and celery to a simple vegetarian black bean soup and the fennel joined with the fresh taste of its celery cousin and the whole thing was really sublime.

Black Bean Soup with Roasted Fennel

2 cups dried black beans, soaked in water to cover for several hours
(you could also use 2 (14 oz.) cans of cooked black beans, undrained)

1 large bulb fennel, roasted (see above)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped

5 cups vegetable stock

Salt to taste

Drain beans and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Cook until softened, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another large pot heat olive oil. Add carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add roasted fennel and vegetable stock and bring to boil. Cover and simmer while beans finish cooking.

Add cooked black beans to the soup pot. Stir together to blend and add salt to taste. I then stuck in my immersion blender to puree the soup. You could eat it like that or go further and strain out any vegetable bits if you are on a liquid diet, like we were this past week.

Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

I am going to send a cup of this luscious black bean soup over to my blogger buddy Deb of Kahakai Kitchen, for her weekly Souper Sunday roundup and another cup over to Sweet Artichoke who is this month's host for My Legume Love Affair, a blog event created by Susan the Well-Seasoned Cook. Disclaimer: I received compensation for adding the link to the third paragraph of this post.


ilovecooking said...

I like your idea of making black bean soup aa a healthy option to the regular foods you eat. I can't imagine what it feels like to have to come up with food ideas for such restricted diets. Good luck. I hope everyone feels better soon.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Eliotseats said...

Hmmmm---that addition of fennel is intriguing. I love your garlic pic at the top of the page and that platter is beautiful. Is it new or am I just slow in noticing?

Rachel said...

Thanks for kind comments. Three out of four Crispy critters are now back on regular diets. My sweetie must still avoid acids for a few more weeks, but we're enjoying some other tasty things to eat.

Eliot, my garlic header is new, thanks for noticing! I don't have a fancy camera, just a point and shoot pocket camera, but every once in a while it takes a really nice shot, so I used that.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love the idea of the roasted fennel and black beans--looks delicious whether on a special diet or not. ;-) Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)