It is finally cool in Savannah, which means that it is time for SOUP! Soup is seriously my favorite food. I could eat it for lunch and dinner, year around – and I would be ok with tomato soup seventy-five percent of the time.
The other day I picked up 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker, by Lynn Alley, at Williams-Sonoma. All recipes are vegetarian. You can expect me to blog about a number of these recipes throughout the rest of fall and winter.
If you do not have a crockpot, you need to get one. Now. It is one of the greatest inventions – especially if you work. Imagine walking into your house at night and being greeted by the smells of a home cooked meal. It is almost magical.
The first recipe that caught my eye was for Black Bean Chili with Cornbread Crust. The ingredients for the soup are:
1 pound (2 cups) dried black beans
6 cups water
6 allspice berries (I used a little over 1 teaspoon of ground allspice)
1 stick cinnamon (I used 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon cumin seed (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin)
1/4 teaspoon aniseed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 to 2 tablespoons chile powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Before I went to work, I chopped the onion and bell peppers (I used yellow and orange because that is what I had) and put everything into the crock pot.
It took me less than twenty minutes for this preparation. A quick shot of my favorite shoes ever (which I was wearing as I chopped the veggies):
(I am a sucker for the Burberry plaid. I would buy my dog a Burberry coat except I think my husband would divorce me.)
I set the crockpot on low and left for the office.
Once the soup was done (beans were tender – about 7 hours), it was time to make the cornbread crust. The ingredients for this are:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
I pulsed all of the dry ingredients in the food processor, and then added the wet ingredients. Once all ingredients were mixed, I spread the cornbread mixture over the top of the chili. I was a little skeptical at this point as it appeared at first as if the uncooked cornbread mixture was going to sink into the chili. Do not despair – it won’t.
Then, I turned the crockpot up to high and let it cook for an hour (or until a toothpick inserted into the cornbread comes out clean).
The finished product was beautiful. I served it with fresh chopped green onions and a dollop of light sour cream.
I had high expectations for this recipe.The picture in the cookbook is enticing (much more so than the above picture, I am sure). Plus, who doesn’t like chili with cornbread?
It is a healthy meal. The calories for each serving (and the recipe makes 6 servings) is 415, per my calculations, with 22 grams of protein.
It was very good – but a little … different. I think it was the cocoa. The cornbread was unbelievable – moist and a little mushy (which I love), and slightly sweet – but not overly so. I would make this again, but I would reduce the amount of cocoa – maybe by a half.