Eat Well: Where've You Bean all my Life!

The following was written by resident editor-in-cheese beans, WWW. Thanks, mom!
I LOVE soup and could eat it every day. I usually make at least one pot of soup a week, even in summer. Now that the weather is cooler, it’s a perfect time to start cooking bean soups. Beans are high in protein, iron, and calcium as well as a great source of fiber and are a staple in the vegetarian diet. This black bean chili recipe is a favorite of mine—not only because it has an amazing flavor (I think partly due to the molasses), but because it is easy and can be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. And it’s fairly quick as bean soups go; once the beans are cooked, the soup only takes 45 minutes.

For years we had a huge New Years Eve party at our house and Black Bean Chile became a tradition.
*check out my sexy sleeves! And bangs! And spoon! (I'm on the left, ps)

The big parties are a thing of the past, but I still make the soup for our smaller get-togethers as well as regularly for our family.


Method 1:
Wash and pick through 1 pound of beans getting rid of any dirt clods or pebbles that might be in with the beans. Cover four times their volume with water and let soak over night.
WWW says, "soak your beans!"

The next day, drain the water and put in a large pot with 3 times the volume of fresh water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 30-45 minutes. When tender, drain liquid and set aside beans.

Method 2:
After washing and sorting beans, cover four times their volume with water and bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute. Turn stove off and let sit, covered, for 1 hour. Drain off water. Cover three times their volume with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Black Bean Chile Soup
(From Steaksmith restaurant in Santa Fe, NM)
¼ cup butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 pound dried black beans, washed COOKED and drained*
1 pound green chile peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (or 1 pound canned diced chiles)
(for pepper cooking directions, see here)
1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
2 cups tomatoes, diced medium (or 2 cups canned diced tomatoes)
1 T red chile powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like your soup!)
cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, oregano, and chili powder
3 cups tomato juice or V8 (I USE R.W. Knudsen Organic “Very Veggie Vegetable Blend”)
¼ cup molasses
salt to taste
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
½ cup sour cream
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped plus extra for garnish:
In a large stockpot, place the butter and heat it on medium high until it is melted and hot. Add the onions and sauté them for 5 minutes, or until they are translucent.

Add the cooked black beans, green chile peppers, garlic, tomatoes, red chile powder, coriander, paprika, oregano, cumin cayenne pepper, tomato juice (or vegetable juice like V8) and molasses.
Stir together. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. (If it is too thick, add more tomato juice.)
If you want the soup to be creamier, at this time, take out 1/3 of the soup and puree it in a food processor or blender. Return the puree to the soup and add the cilantro. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Season the soup with salt to taste.

For each serving, place some Jack cheese in the bowl, ladle in the soup, and top with a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro. Serve with warm tortillas or corn bread.
(Serves 8)

This soup will feed your family for a couple of days. I love leftovers, but if you don’t, it freezes really well. It thickens considerably over night so you can add some more tomato juice the next day to thin it or use the beans to make soft tacos with guacamole, cheese, rice, cilantro and Spanish rice. Another delicious way to serve the leftovers is in a baked sweet potato topped with sour cream and cilantro.



Liz | 3:56 PM

This is awesome! I've been looking for a good vegetarian chili recipe for meat-free Mondays...

Amanda | 4:03 PM

Ooooooo...this is happening. I'm on this like Lindsey Lohan on a DUI.

Anonymous | 4:54 PM

YUM!! And I love the colors in this dish.

Rebecca | 8:12 PM

Oh. My. God. I. Love. Beans. I'm totally trying this one.
Also, here's another fabulous bean stew recipe that my roommate and I are obsessed with. I serve it with quesadillas. (This site is also a great healthy eating recipe source.)

Kila Bell | 10:35 PM

Beans Beans they're good for your heart...we've had beans twice in the last week...what's one more???
Love the beans...thanks!

Hannah | 1:17 AM

This is a great hearty soup - wonderful for this time of year. Will be out buying beans this morning! I love the way Wendy uses food to create memories. Looking forward to trying this one out.

Aidan | 1:30 AM

That looks amazing. I'm off to buy some black beans. I can't find dry ones here but thankfully I've found canned at the world food market. Rumbling tummy already! Thanks.

jesse k | 5:46 AM

I literally just bought ingredients to make a black bean soup, but haven't found a recipe that popped out to me, and this is the one I'm going to make! Thanks so much!


This looks delicious - and inexpensive! I think I know what I'm making for dinner tonight.


Hooray! And thanks for the recipe tip, Rebecca! Delish!

leeshka | 11:55 AM

While I don't do green chile. I want to kiss you with tongue for sharing a proper recipe (even if it is from Santa Fe, lol). Have you guys tried baking it into some bread? That's chile that my (excessively caucasian) self can get behind! ;-)

ERM | 7:20 PM

yay! I love the WWW cooking posts...I have made many of the recipes and all are fab!

stephanie marie | 3:00 PM

I made this over the weekend, and it was simply amazing! Easy to make, and my partner (and his dad) said this is the best thing I've ever cooked for them! And I've done a lot of cooking for those two over the years :)
Thank you Wendy and Rebecca for such wonderful inspiration!

Wendy Woolf | 8:17 PM

I am SO HAPPY Stephanie Marie that the soup was a hit! Thanks for the feedback!

Rebecca | 8:35 AM

I actually have a question before I make this: What kind of green chillis should you use for this recipe? Do you mean big ones like Anaheim or poblano chillis, or the small super spicy ones?

Wendy Woolf | 7:30 PM

Rebecca...Use Anaheim peppers--not spicy (you can use the canned but it's cheaper to use fresh ones).

MissMolly | 8:11 AM

Made this last night and it was wonderful. I LOVE these posts and we are trying them all out. Thank you for doing this!

robin | 8:21 AM

That soup looks amazing! I'm making it tonight. Thanks for sharing. It seems like you like good honest food. You'd sure get that in Pigeon Forge. Here's a link to a vacation giveaway they're doing: