Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Squash, Black Bean, and Kale Soup

The wind was whipping today. And the temps? Well, definitely not October's best. But I got to be home with my boys today, so the weather was a no matter since those two little charmers are all the sunshine I need. We built a massive fort in the living room (under which my three year old got to nap, how fun is that?!), baked cookies, and popped popcorn over the stove (or "boom-corn", as my three year old calls it). And, let's not forgot the soup.

I am just a soup lover at heart. I honestly think I could eat a bowl of homemade soup every day and never tire of it. I've even started eating my leftover soup for breakfast! Soup, when made at home using whole, fresh, organic ingredients, is just so nourishing. I say that to myself when I'm eating it, Kelly, you are nourishing your body! And soup is also one of the easiest things to make, once you get the hang of it. You can literally throw any random vegetables from your produce drawer into a pot with some chicken broth, let it simmer for a bit on the stove, and call it good (a great way to use up produce that is starting to go bad, but isn't bad just yet...).

Today I was craving a hearty black bean soup that wasn't chili. I already had the squash pureed in my fridge and thought the two would pair well together. I was right. I used an ambercup squash in this recipe, which to note, is a tad on the sweeter side of winter squashes. A butternut would also work great in its place, but if you use any other kind of winter squash that isn't as sweet as those varieties, I recommend adding a tablespoon or so of the sweetner of choice (think agave, maple syrup, or molasses). You can also control the thickness of this soup by adding less or more water/broth. If you like a really thick soup, omit 1-2 cups of the liquid; if you like a more brothly-based soup, add 1-2 cups more.

Experiment with it. Play with it. Whatever you do, eat this soup and be nourished.

Squash, Black Bean, and Kale Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups cooked, pureed ambercup squash (you could use butternut or  1- 15 oz. canned pumpkin instead)
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1- 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
pinch salt
3-4 kale leaves

Heat coconut oil in soup pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Chop onion and mince garlic. Add to soup pot and stir to coat. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop celery and carrots into bite-size pieces. Add to soup pot and cook along with onions and garlic for another 5 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add squash, beans, and spices (through pepper). Stir to combine. Continue simmering for about 10-15 minutes. Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces and add to pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking (you want them to stay bright green; if they cook longer than 2 or so minutes, they will get brownish looking and soggy...).

Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.

Serves 4-6.

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