Soup as Your Secret Weapon
In case you haven’t noticed, the world really needs us right now. The paradigm-looting pandemic isn’t over. Differing points of view are dividing friends and neighbors when we aren’t paying attention. It’s as though the collective pulse is slow, the heartbeat is going quiet. Bold acts of friendship are as important as they ever were.
Lean in and let Pumpkin Black Bean Soup be one of your secret weapons in the defense of friendship.
Lean In, Full and Strong
I’ve found that leaning in to my loved ones and community happens best when I first make my own self full and strong. Now is the time to follow the pilot’s directions. “Ladies and gentlemen, should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”
Simply put, if I run out of oxygen I cannot assist someone else with gaining theirs. If I’m gasping for air I am fairly useless in creating a safer, happier, nourishing place for others.
In this season known for its comfort food, let us remember this for ourselves. Eat reviving foods, feed ourselves well. Warm, spicy, hearty things that nourish not just our bodies, but our eyes and hearts and imaginations. And then share it with others out of our own fullness.
Make More Bean Soup Joy
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup is a stealthy way to make more joy. Make more festivity for Halloween night supper. Make more personal success– image your game-day touchdown by sharing this big pot of soup with loved ones. Or make this soup as an easy dinner party with whoever it is that makes up your pod these days.
Or in support to yourself, make the whole big pot and parcel out 2-cup portions for your freezer. That way you’ll always be fueled for your loving, life-giving actions even when you don’t feel like cooking. The joyfully act of making the soup itself is a beautiful life-giver.
More About Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
Put together this rich and fragrant rusty-brown soup in a flash with canned ingredients from your pantry, or with dried black beans you cook yourself. (Beans from Rancho Gordo are the best ever, and their Midnight Black Beans are perfect here.) Directions for the easy way and the beans-from-scratch way are included. I love it both ways, depending on the amount of time I’ve got to give. Click here for link to a Facebook Live video of me explaining the easy process of making pumpkin puree from scratch.
Make it vegan by omitting the ham hock or pancetta for another delicious way to go, even for committed meat-eaters.
The aroma coming from the pot of this seasonal soup is so inviting and so comforting. Pumpkin gets a well-earned reprieve from its sugar and spice gig, making a happy marriage with the savory black beans and cumin. It really is the perfect thing for the chilly days ahead.
Oh, by the way, a perfect accompaniment to this warming soup is a huge loaf of Caraway Rye Black Bread. Together they make enough to feed a crowd of friends bent on making more joy, no matter what.
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
- 4 15 oz. cans whole black beans, drained See Notes section for cooking beans from scratch.
- 1 15 oz. can whole or diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups onion, diced (about 2 large onions)
- 2 poblano chilis, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz. pancetta or bacon, diced (optional) Omit for vegan option.
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 15 oz cans pure pumpkin Or one 28 oz. can.
- 4 cups water
- 1 can Stout or other favorite beer (optional) I love Athletic Brewing Company's non-alcoholic All Out Stout for this.
- 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste at the table
- pumpkin seeds, cilantro, green onion, and/or sour cream as toppings
- Blend together in a food processor HALF of the black beans and the canned tomatoes. Process until nearly smooth. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup or stock pot to medium-high heat. Add the diced onions, poblano, garlic, pancetta (if using, salt, and pepper. Stir together, and allow the vegetables to thoroughly soften as the pancetta crisps up a bit, stirring frequently and adjusting heat to prevent them from browning, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and Mexican oregano, stir, and allow to cook another 3 minutes or so.
- Add the blended bean/tomato mixture to the sauteed vegetables and stir. Stir in the pumpkin, and then stir in the water and stout (if using). Simmer and stir frequently for 20 minutes or so to slightly condense and thicken, and to let the flavors come together. Stir in the remaining whole beans and serve. If you are making this in advance of serving time, add the beans in the last five minutes before serving to they don't overcook and collapse.
- Right before serving, stir in the vinegar and taste to adjust seasoning. Ladle into bowls, serve plain, or garnish with your favorite combination of topping ingredients.
- 1 pound black beans (I’m especially fond of Rancho Gordo Midnight Black Beans)
- 1 or 2 smoked ham hocks (optional)