Nothing beats hot soup on a cold day, and this soup is one of the best. It comes to us courtesy of Brandi Evans, a cook who runs the tremendously useful blog Bran Appetit and recent author of Cooking With Coffee. As you might expect, a coffee cookbook has a lot to say about breakfast and desert, but coffee can make for great savoury options too, like pulled barbecue chicken, coffee braised ribs, and mocha mole chilli.
Of course, we’re suckers for bacon, so we decided to feature this awesome smoky black bean soup precisely because there’s bacon. A note on that: the recipe calls for four slices of bacon, but you can certainly use more if you like. They only thing we’d suggest is removing some of the bacon grease from the pot, since the vegetables called for only need four bacon slices worth of grease to cook.
Smoky Black Bean Soup
Makes 10–12 servings
The inspiration for this soup recipe is one that was handed to me from one of my husband’s cousins, and it has quickly become a family favorite. It really is the perfect black bean soup—not completely creamy, but not too chunky. Everything is cooked just right, and the bacon and coffee add just the right amount of smokiness. I always top my bowl with fresh lime juice, diced avocado, and some shredded cheese . . . plus a few tortilla chips thrown in for good measure.
4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
3½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
1½ cups brewed coffee
4 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Dice bacon and add to a large pot over medium heat.
Once the bacon starts releasing its fat, add in the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery and cook together 3–5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and tomato paste and cook for another 2–3 minutes.
Pour in the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, crushed tomatoes, cumin, smoked paprika, broth, coffee, and beans.
Bring the soup to a boil, cover the pot, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook 20–30 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and pour the mixture into the soup. Let it cook another 5–10 minutes until slightly thickened.
Stir in the lime juice before serving. You can also purée part of the soup if you’d like it a little creamier.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Cooking with Coffee: Brewing Up Sweet and Savory Everyday Dishes by Brandi Evans (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015).