Creole Black Bean Soup
What better combination than sweet potatoes, cilantro, jalapeno’s, and black beans? This soup, adapted from the wonderful cookbook The Ethnic Vegetarian, by Angela Shelf Medearis –a cookbook with diverse recipes from Africa, the Carribbean, and America–is hearty enough for an entire meal, and is wonderful paired with homemade cornbread.
1 1/2 cups black beans, soaked
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ribs celergy, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped
1 jalapeno child pepper, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 quarts water
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chil powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
]1 cup sweetened coconut milk
4 springs fresh cilantro, chopped and stems discarded
Cook the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, chile pepper, bay leaves, and thyme in the butter in a large soup pot. Saute for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to combine the ingredients.
Add the beans, water, sweet potato, salt, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or unitl the beans are soft.
Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the coconut milk and cilantro. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Angela Shelf Medearis, author of The Ethnic Vegetarian, is the author of three cookbooks, including The African-American Kitchen and Ideas for Entertaining from the African-American Kitchen, is the founder of Diva Productions, Inc., the organization that produces her multicultural children’s books, cookbooks, videos, and audiocassettes. She lives in Austin, Texas.