Black beans make a superb soup - but you have to prepare them from scratch. Cooking the beans creates a velvety, thick purple broth that you simply cannot recreate with tinned black beans.
Don't worry - it ain't that hard to cook black beans. It just takes a bit of foresight. While you can soak them over night, they don't actually need that long. A few hours is fine. The longer you soak the less time they will take to cook. No more than 12 hours though and at least three hours is a good guide for black beans - also known as Brazilian or turtle beans.
Pumpkin makes a great mate for black beans. And this soup is actually pretty simple and easy. Team it with the coconut corn bread below.
Slightly adapted from Three Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery by Seppo Ed Farrey with Myochi nancy O'Hara
RECIPE: PUMPKIN AND BLACK BEAN SOUP
2 cups black beans, rinsed well and drained
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
About 2kg pumpkin, skinned and chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 tablespoon tamari - or soy sauce
fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
Soak beans in 6 cups of water for about four hours. Rinse well. Prepare pumpkin.
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat and saute onion with salt for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute few more minutes, stirring now and then.
Add 6 cups of water with pumpkin and beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with lid on, stirring now and then, until beans are soft but not mushy. If looks like to much liquid remove lid for last 15 minutes so it will reduce down a bit. You want a reasonable amount of broth though.
Remove one cup of the solids and one cup of the broth and puree. Return to pot and add tamari and pepper. Simmer for a few more minutes.
Carefully ladle soup into bowls and add a decent dollop of good quality sour cream, with fresh coriander sprinkled on top. Serve with bread below or on its own.
FOR BABIES SIX MONTHS AND OVER: Scoop out some pumpkin once it is cooked and puree
FOR BABIES EIGHT MONTHS AND OLDER: Scoop out some cooked beans and pumpkin and mash a little (avoid the broth as it contains salt)FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS ONE YEAR AND OLDER: Serve as is, or blend and serve