This is the recipe for the soup I served at last night's Hrafnar. I modified it slightly from this one, which itself is a copy of this recipe, published in the now-defunct Gourmet magazine in November 1996.
The significant changes were to use butternut squash purée instead of pumpkin, and vegetable broth instead of beef broth--one of our irregular attendees is a vegetarian who cannot have pumpkins-as-such for religious reasons. As one may freely substitute the winter squashes for each other in most cases, this didn't present a significant challenge.
Black Bean and Winter Squash Soup
Based on "Black Bean Pumpkin Soup" published in Gourmet, November 1996
Yield: Approximately 2 Liters/quarts. Serves eight as a side or appetizer, four as an entrée.
|three||15.5-ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained|
|one||14.5-ounce can canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained and roughly pulled apart|
|1||medium onion, diced|
|1/2 cup||minced shallot (approx three medium)|
|4||garlic cloves, pressed or minced|
|1 T + 2 t||cumin|
|1 t||kosher salt|
|1/2 t||freshly ground black pepper|
|1/2 stick||(1/4 cup) unsalted butter|
|1 qt||vegetable broth|
|one||16-ounce can butternut squash purée (about 1 1/2 cups)|
|1/2 c||dry Sherry|
|1/2 lb||cooked ham, diced|
|1/4 c||Sherry vinegar|
In a food processor, purée beans and tomatoes until the beans are broken, but the mixture is still quite chunky. In a four quart or larger Dutch oven, cook onion through pepper in butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean purée. Stir in broth, squash, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, at least 25 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.
Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. If serving to a mixed crowd of vegetarians and omnivores, split some out before adding the ham. Season soup with salt and pepper.
- When it comes to cumin, my strong recommendation to you, Gentle Reader, is that you buy whole seeds instead of already ground ones. Heat a small (7") cast iron skillet and add the whole cumin. Stir constantly for thirty seconds, by which point the cumin seeds will toast, darken slightly, and become aromatic. Upon that instant, transfer the ground cumin to a coffee/spice grinder and pulverize. Obviously, this requires a coffee grinder...or more patience with a mortar and pestle than I have almost ever achieved.
- This recipe wants a food processor. If you don't have one, you may instead dice up the canned tomatoes, add them to the beans, and chase the results around for awhile with a potato masher.
- Suggested garnishes can include sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, &c.
- One might grate some nutmeg onto individual bowls, too.
- One might replace the sherry with white wine, and the vinegar with white wine vinegar or lemon juice.