Here's a soup for a cold raw day ... one that went really well with a plate of cheesy nachos and a cold beer. Everyone here in Fitzwilliam is crabbing about another snow storm that is threatening southwestern New Hampshire. There's a severe case of cabin fever going around the grey cottage ... wishing for a thaw and hoping that we get a long warm snap so that the drifts melt and the stone walls reappear! We are ready to see some forsythia and crocus blooms! Until then, though, the first paperwhite blossoms have poked their faces out to say, "Hello!".
Come on Springtime!
Beef and Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ lb. sirloin tips, trimmed of fat and chopped into small bites
1 medium onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. cumin
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
2 chipotle peppers in their sauce, chopped coarsely (one, if you don't want the soup too 'hot')
5 c. strong beef broth
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 oz. can corn nibs, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 oz can chopped tomatoes and chilis and the juices
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes (¾ inch)
1 very small handful coarse polenta ( a scant 3 tbsp.)
1 handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Tortilla chips and plain yogurt dollops
More fresh cilantro
Making the Soup:
- Place the olive oil, onions, and garlic in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Sweat the vegetables until they glisten.
- Salt and pepper the meat pieces. Add the meat pieces to the veg and toss to brown on all sides.
- Add the cumin and chili powder, tossing well to coat the meat and vegetables.
- Pop the chipotle peppers into the mix and smash them in with a spoon to break them up.
- Add the beef broth and stir well. Let simmer for several minutes and then add the tomatoes, black beans, and corn.
- Stir the tomato paste into a small glass of water and add to the broth.
- Lower the heat and simmer for a couple hours to tenderize the beef nicely.
- Prep the sweet potato and add it to the simmering soup about an hour before you want to eat.
- Add the polenta and cilantro and stir it in well. Let it simmer until the potatoes are tender, stirring up the polenta every once in a while.
- Serve sprinkled with more cilantro, broken tortilla chips, and a dollop of yogurt (or sour cream).