Friday, January 4, 2008

Chocolate-Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Yeah, that's right, chocolate. Your kitchen will smell DeLiCiOuS. Resist the urge to use whatever chocolate bar you have lying around--you need unsweetened baking chocolate because this is a savory chocolate showcase, like mole, and a handful of Hershey's kisses will just taste weird.

If you're new to chipotles, they can usually be found, dried, in the international section of your supermarket or a Latin American grocery store (where they'll be WAY cheaper). They have a great smoky flavor and cooking them whole in the soup allows you to control the final level of heat--at the end, you can puree the whole chile, half or none and return it to the soup, depending on your spice tolerance.

Get to the Chocolate Already.

1 cup dried black beans
1 dried chipotle chile
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ an onion, minced
2 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 cups stock
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt to taste

Optional but Delicious Garnishes
1 cup peanut oil
4 shallots, sliced paper-thin
Sour cream

Yeah, Yeah, and When do I Add the Chocolate?

Soak beans and chipotle however you normally do dried beans--either cover them with water for 8 hours or do the quick-soak method (cover with water, bring to a boil for five minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for an hour). Drain beans and chipotle.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot and add cumin and onions. Stir for about 3 minutes, then add remaining spices, stock, chocolate and soaked beans and chile. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, until beans are tender. Remove about 2 cups of the soup and the chipotle and puree, then return to pot. (If you're not into spiciness, you can just remove the chipotle altogether and just puree 2 cups of soup). Stir in tomato paste until dissolved and add salt to taste (these are added at the end because both salt and tomatoes prevent dried beans from cooking. Retain that for cocktail-party conversation).

Garnish time! Heat peanut oil in a small saucepan, add shallots, and fry 2-3 minutes, until crispy. Drain the shallots into a sieve (save the oil!) or remove them quickly with a slotted spoon onto paper towels. The used oil is great for instant flavor in stir-fries.

Serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of crispy shallots.


Daniel Koontz said...

Thank you for posting this!

Chicken mole is one of the "heavy rotation" dishes we regularly make in our household, and it's always amusing to see our friends initially weirded out by a non-dessert dish that contains chocolate. They always come around once they taste it of course.

I've been on the lookout for other Latin recipes with chocolate so thank you for sharing!

Daniel Koontz
Casual Kitchen

I Heart Kale said...

Hi Daniel, thanks for visiting! Everyone seems to have savory chocolate on the brain--I just noticed this recipe, posted the day after ours!

Tanya said...

Mmm. I *love* fried shallots. And onions. Yum!

I Heart Kale said...

Yeah, fried shallots are the answer to everything (except desserts). We saved the shallot-infused oil and used it to fry up some tofu a few days later-yum!

Karina said...

Yay- chocolate. I love me my mole. Thanks for visiting Karina's Kitchen.

Take care!

Sarah said...

What do you think it would take to convert these flavors to a chili? I'm going to a cook-off this weekend and want to bring something really delicious and amazing (but also vegan/vegetarian). Obviously you wouldn't puree it, but what else? Some have suggested the addition of a sweet potato, and I imagine it might also need some tomatoes. Thoughts?

I Heart Kale said...

Hmm, chili: use less stock (just enough to cover beans) so you have a more stew-like consistency. Add cubed sweet potato with the onions, and a 15-ounce can of tomatoes with the tomato paste. Let us know how it goes!

loshakova said...

I just made a pot of this soup. My house smells AMAZING, and the soup is delicious -- just what I needed on a cold, dark, rainy day. Thanks!