This soup is sweet with carrots, rich with coconut milk and protein-packed with black beans and a touch of peanut butter. Best of all, you can basically knock out a bunch of cilantro, stems and all, thus avoiding the dreaded "Oops, I bought this cilantro because I needed 1/4 cup a week ago, and now it's black and slimy" situation. It comes together in no time and, paired with a salad (we had our soup with this one), works very well for a quick weeknight dinner.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup minced cilantro stems
1 small green chile, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Optional but invigorating garnishes: extra minced cilantro and grated carrot
Heat butter or oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes, then add cumin, salt, cilantro stems, chile and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are wilted and starting to brown. Add the black beans, coconut milk and water and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the peanut butter and cilantro, and pulse until smooth. Taste for salt --if your peanut butter is unsalted, you'll probably want a little more. Top with cilantro and grated carrot if desired; the crunch and juiciness of the grated carrot is especially nice against the hot, creamy soup.