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Black Bean and Wild Rice Soup

February 8, 2009

Black Bean and Wild Rice Soup

In my attempt to eat less meat and more plant life, I’ve been experimenting with vegetarian soups for the past month or so. I make a big pot of soup every Sunday and bring a bowl to work every day for lunch, and I’ve got my soup-making skills down now. I’ve become quite fond of lentils, and should probably start making my own vegetable stock because I’m going through the stuff like crazy. What I love about making soup is that you have so many opportunities to be creative. Once you have a basic formula down you can add and subtract and experiment, and make something completely new just by using different herbs and spices.

Black bean soup has always been one of my favorites. When I was in college I was addicted to Progresso’s Hearty Black Bean soup and probably ate it at least once a week. When I realized that I was four weeks into my soup experiment and hadn’t made black bean soup yet, I knew I had to rectify the situation, so I came up with this: Black Bean and Wild Rice Soup.

This is definitely not your standard black bean soup. The beans themselves weren’t a prominent flavor, though they definitely added a nice thickness and heartiness to the soup. This soup has a bright, almost flowery flavor that I think must be a combination of red onions, carrots, and Mexican oregano. And I will admit I was nervous about the wild rice: What I had was old, and smelled a little musty, but I threw it in anyway and it was lovely.

The foundation of almost all of my soup

Like most of the soups I make, this one started with a foundation of onions, garlic, and carrots. I usually add celery, as well, but it didn’t seem quite right for Black Bean soup. I used red onions instead of my standard yellow onions, which proved to be the exactly right choice for this soup. A little cumin, a little chili powder, and two heaping teaspoons of Mexican oregano (shipped to me by my lovely family in California) and you have an easy and very flavorful black bean soup.

I still need to find a recipe for a basic black bean soup, but in the meantime this one does quite nicely.

Black Bean and Wild Rice Soup

Black Bean and Wild Rice Soup

  • 1 T. canola oil
  • about 1 c. chopped red onion
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 heaping tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 c. wild rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can of black beans, drained
  • 1 32-ounce container of vegetable broth

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, until the onions are soft and slightly translucent. Then add the garlic and carrots, and saute for a few minutes more. Add the seasoning, the rice, and the beans and stir well. Then add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for at least 30 minutes.

It can’t get easier than that, but I have to admit: I made this soup about two weeks ago and there is a good possibility I’m leaving out some minor ingredient. I should probably take notes when I’m making up recipes, huh? The good thing is that soup is easy peasy and you really can’t go wrong. If you want to add something else, add something else. Don’t like chili powder? Don’t use it! Want some other beans in there? Go for it! I think the key to this soup, really, is the Mexican oregano. It adds a really unique, bright flavor that makes the whole dish come together.

Sadly, I’m back in school again, which means try as I might, postings here are probably going to become a little more sparse. This is my last semester, so I’m not just taking courses and working too much, but am desperately seeking a post-graduation job, somewhere on the west coast (I’ve had enough of all this snow). I do have some things to share soon, though, so let’s hope I can stay on top of my schedule and make time for the kitchen every now and then.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. crystalbrooke permalink
    February 17, 2009 3:35 pm

    Hiya lady! I made this soup tonight — with a few minor changes related to items to expensive or difficult to find here (wild rice for 9EUR?? mexican oregano??) — and it was delicious! I substituted regular oregano, which still adds a lot of flavor, and used a rice mix of wild, jasmine, and basmati rices. Also, I added corn and red pepper, because I felt like I needed some more veggies. Anyway, it’s good stuff, and I’ll be eating it for the rest of the week, for sure. Keep on bringing the yummy vegan recipes!!

  2. March 2, 2009 5:12 am

    Neat twist on black bean soup! If you’re still looking for a basic “classic” recipe, I’ve had good results with the one from Cook’s Illustrated.

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