Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rosie Makes A Mean Black Bean Soup.

When I woke up this morning, the wind was blowing hard outside and I thought this would be a great day to get my chicken and turkey carcasses out of the freezer and make stocks. And also to make a black bean soup for supper, using the chicken stock.
Here are my labeled carcasses - both chicken and turkey.
Chicken is on the right. Turkey on the left.
I added a good bit of salt into each pot.
Along with a handful of peppercorns.
Here are my aromatics: Carrots. Celery. Onions. Garlic.
I coarse chopped everything.
Garlic goes into the pot.
Onions go in, along with the skin. Peppers in.
Celery in.
Carrots into the pool. I don't bother to peel the carrots and I cut on the diagonal, to get as much surface area as possible.
Next, I went outside to pick my herbs. First, here's my bay tree. If anybody ever needs bay leaves, I'm your go-to gal. Don't bother paying those exorbitant prices in the spice section. I have these little trees coming up like weeds in my yard. If anybody wants one, I could dig one up and ship it to you. Who knows? It might just make it. But really, if you ever want bay leaves, just e-me and I'd be happy to send you some.
Bay leaves were added to the stock.
I barely simmered the stocks throughout the day, skimming the scum off the top.
Turkey stock on the left. Chicken stock on the right. My house is smelling chickeney and turkey-ey.
After barely simmering all day long (10 am -7 pm) I lined a colander with cheesecloth and poured the stocks into other containers.
I had quite a bit of chicken stock and poured as much as I could into the first pot on the right. Then, I didn't bother to put the cheese cloth in the colander and poured the rest into the pot on the left. Big difference! Look at the particles in the pot on the left. In the meantime, Mr. Hawthorne came home and started on his "shit detail," as he calls it. In the third pan on the right, Mr. Hawthorne is picking through the pieces and pulling out viable chicken parts.
He's making chicken salad. He actually pulled off about a pound of meat. We use every part of every critter we eat. Nothing, I tell you, nothing goes to waste.
Mr. Hawthorne added chopped onions, celery, pepper, and sweet pickles to his salad.
Mayo, salt and pepper, and hard boiled eggs went in. And we have chicken salad, from chicken carcasses left over from way back when.
The carrots, celery, and chicken parts that didn't go into the salad went into Dixie's bowl. She loves carrots. Actually, Dixie loves all human food except for eggs. She will not eat an egg no matter how you disguise it. She'd kill for cheese, but if you put a scrambled egg with cheese in her bowl, she'll turn her nose up and walk away. She hates eggs that much.
OK, where am I now? Stocks are done and cooling. Mr. H. has made the chicken salad. Oh yeah. Imonna make some seasoned tortilla chips, using regular flour tortillas.
Here are my toppings/seasonings for my tortilla chips: 1/2 stick butter, melted coriander cumin my home-grown cayenne peppers, ground fresh cilantro, chopped (And my cilantro made it just fine through the few inches of snow we had last week.)
I put about a teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper in the butter.
I added in the chopped cilantro to the mix, then brushed it onto my cut-out flour tortilla triangles.
I baked them in a slow oven (300 degrees) until crispy, toasty, and nicely browned (about 30 minutes). Next, I'm going to make a lovely seasoned creme fraiche. If you don't have your homemade creme fraiche and there's no excuse for it if you don't, then you could use sour cream. I've done this before in my blog, but to make creme fraiche, you just take 1 cup heavy cream and add one tablespoon buttermilk and one tablespoon lemon juice. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature, then refrigerate. And you have something sooo much better than sour cream you wouldn't believe it.
My creme fraiche, cilantro, and lime.
Here's a tortilla triangle I'm dipping into the creme fraiche with lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Golly is this ever good! Very fresh tasting with a nice tart accent to it.
Then I made it even better, by adding in sliced green onions and minced jalapenoes. Now, on to the Black Bean Soup.
I rinsed a 1/2 cup of black beans in a colander.
Here's my trick for cooking beans - any type of beans. You don't need to soak them overnight. You don't need to boil them forever. All you need to do is rinse them off, then put them in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the beans, and let sit for maybe one hour. Drain and wash beans. Repeat with the salted water boil, turn off heat, cover, and let sit another hour. At this point, I liked the beans just fine. Mr. Hawthorne likes them cooked a bit more. So now, I have the beans ready to heat up and cook a bit more in the stock.
Here's my mise for the black bean soup,
 excluding the stock, which is still simmering on the stove top.
 Top cutting board: 
From bottom left continuing clockwise (and meandering at the end):
 chopped bacon
black beans
cubanelle pepper
 assorted red, green, yellow, orange peppers jalapeno
 green onions 
bone from dry-cured country ham in center
 Bottom cutting board: (Starting at top and going clockwise)
bay leaves 
I've prepared my veggies: 
chopped onions
 chopped cubanelle peppe
r chopped miscellaneous red, green, yellow, orange peppers
 minced garlic
 sliced jalapeno
chopped celery sliced
 green onions 
My herbs, from top left: 
 bay leaves 
I reserved some of the green onions, cilantro, and jalapenos for toppings for the soup. 

First, I put the bacon and the ham bone into the pot. 
And cooked until the bacon was nice and crisp. 
Then I angled the pot, squishing the grease out of the bacon at the top, and mopping the grease up at the bottom with paper towels. 
Next, I threw in a tablespoon of cumin and cooked. 
Bay leaves, oregano, cilantro, and thyme went in. 
I added in the rest of the chopped veggies. Cooked for about 5 minutes.
Then I added in about 2 quarts of chicken stock. And my kitchen is smelling some kind of gooooooood. The rest of the chicken and turkey stocks I let cool, then put in the fridge to congeal the fat for easier scooping off, and to make consomme later. I simmered this for about 45 minutes. 

About 20 minutes before serving, I added in the already almost cooked-through black beans. 
Here's a spoonful of deliciousity.
 Then I got out my immersion blender Mr. Hawthorne got me for Christmas.
 Look at what I did.
I've prepared my toppings for the black bean soup. On the left is creme fraiche with lime zest and juice, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and minced jalapenos. On the right, I have sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and grated cheddar cheese. And here's the video. When I'm adding the toppings, I reached for the green onions and called them peppers. So disregard that. My bad.
My black bean soup, with toppings and a wedge of seasoned tortilla. Outstanding. So many degrees of flavors, all co-mingling. The only thing ... I was slightly disappointed in the appearance. Not to worry, though. I'll fix that later.
This was a perfect soup for a cold night. Remember at the beginning of the post I mentioned how the wind was howling today? Well, it sounded very cold outside. But now, I am sweating and have my sliders open to let a breeze in since it's 67 degrees out. This reminds me of a few weeks ago when I made Thomas Keller's slow-cooker cassoulet - Gosh, I believe it was January 1 - and it was 76 degrees. Well, back to my black bean soup. When I first pulled the immersion blender out of the pot, I was ... not impressed ... with what I thought was an ... unfortunate color. So, I'm aiming to fix that.

I let the soup simmer a bit more
so it thickened up quite a bit, and I threw some more black beans in a pot to cook.

Black beans got added to the soup and the soup went back into the fridge until Thursday when I doctored it back up for lunch.
Mr. Hawthorne is making his delicious corn salsa:
 Can of chopped tomatoes
 Can of Rotel chopped tomatoes and chilies
 About 2/3 can of corn 
About 1/2 onion
chopped Cilantro
 A little sweetener
 And a bit of the Taco sauce packet from a Taco Dinner package. 
Since my lime crema was so tasty last night, I'm making some more:
 Creme fraiche or sour cream
 Minced jalapeno 
Sliced green onions
 Chopped cilantro
 Lime zest 
Lime juice 
I heated up my thickened black bean soup. 
Realized I had 1/3 can of corn leftover from the salsa, so I put that to excellent use. 
This was even better for lunch today than it was last night. The texture was much improved and all the flavors were a bit more intense. The corn salsa was a nice touch especially with the lime crema. 
Bottom line ...
a winner.


Marilyn said...

The homemade tortillas look yummy. I think I'll have to try those.

Hairball T. Hairball said...

Looks yummy!