Sunday, October 12, 2008

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

I, along with what seems like the entire food blogging community, consider fall to be my favorite season. I love wearing long-sleeve shirts or sweaters while leaving my coat behind. I love the crispness in the air and the beauty of the leaves changing (and living in New Hampshire, I see some amazing foliage). I love apple picking and trick-or-treating - oh, how I wish I wasn't too old for trick-or-treating! I also love cooking foods that seem most appropriate in the fall. Things like apple crisp and pumpkin bread warm my kitchen and my heart.

I recently made some lovely pumpkin-spice filled cupcakes and was left with quite a bit of pumpkin to use. I remembered seeing a black bean and pumpkin soup on Smitten Kitchen and decided it would be the perfect use for my leftover pumpkin.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Source: Gourmet, November 1996 (as seen on Smitten Kitchen)
Three 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained (I used only one can and found the soup to be plenty beany)
1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped (I omitted)
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup minced shallot
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 cups beef broth
a 16-ounce can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup dry Sherry
(I omitted)
1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice (I omitted)
3 to 4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
Garnish: sour cream and coarsely chopped lightly toasted pumpkin seeds
(I omitted the pumpkin seeds. I did include the sour cream which was, in my opinion, the best part)

In a food processor coarsely puree beans and tomatoes.

In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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