This hearty Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Crema is simple, healthy, delicious and easy to make. The chipotle crema adds a wonderful and complex smoky flavor to the soup.
This Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Crema is light yet so comforting and perfect for cold days! Take a shortcut and use canned beans. You will have an incredibly flavorful dinner ready in no time!
Let’s talk beans. Dried versus canned. What do you prefer?
I can honestly say I use more canned beans than dried beans. Here’s why – I am not all that organized and I don’t always plan ahead (shhhh don’t tell anyone).
Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Crema
When using dried beans, you must soak them for at least 8 hours to overnight – I don’t always know I’m making beans until one hour before dinner! No seriously, some days I wait until the last possible minute to figure out what to cook that day.
Dried beans also require a longer cooking time, sometimes more than 2 hours. On busy weeknights when I want dinner ready in 30 minutes or less, canned beans are the way to go.
Now the pros – dried beans are much more affordable and taste better because you can cook them with whatever flavors you choose. From simple vegetables and broths to ham hocks and bacon – to complex tomato-molasses sauces. If I have time for long simmering, then this is a great and affordable option for a delicious meal.
Canned beans may lack a little flavor but one thing is for sure, bean canners have perfected their canning methods and what you find in a can is perfectly cooked, whole, uniform and creamy beans that require very little cooking if any at all! Dinner in 15 minutes is definitely an option with canned beans.
So what to do about the lack of flavor? You add flavor to them! Sometimes all it takes is 15 minutes to achieve full flavored canned beans.
In the case of this Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Crema, I cook the beans with vegetables and spices for about 30 minutes. The result is as delicious as with the dried bean counterpart.
Now the other debate about canned beans. To rinse or not to rinse? The answer varies according to the recipe I’m making. For soups, stews, and even dips I don’t rinse my beans. The liquid – even though it doesn’t always look appealing – tastes just like the beans. There’s no need for rinsing! Now if I am making a salad, I do rinse the beans for better texture (who wants bean goo on their salad anyway?)
- You can use chicken or vegetable stock for this recipe. Here’s my recipe for Basic Chicken Stock
- For the crema, you can use sour cream or creme fraiche instead of the Mexican crema.
- The recipe calls for chipotle sauce. You can use chipotles in adobo sauce . I take a few chipotles from the can, open them and scrape off the seeds. I chop them and add them to the crema together with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce.
- If you don’t have time to roast poblano peppers, you can use canned mild roasted jalapenos instead. The flavor is a bit different but still delicious.
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Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Crema
For the Soup
- 1 pound dried black beans OR 3 (15.5-ounce) cans canned black beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ cup tequila
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 Poblano pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
- Juice of ½ lime,about 2 tablespoons or to taste
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Tortilla chips
- Avocado slices
- Chopped cilantro
- Chipotle Crema (recipe follows)
- ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- 1-2 tablespoons chipotle sauce or 2 chipotles in adobo sauce,seeded and finely chopped with 1 to 2 tablespoon of the adobo sauce.
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- If using dried beans, pick over them to remove any stones or debris. Put them in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain well. Give them a rinse with cold water and drain once again.
- In a medium pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic cloves and cook stirring frequently for about 4-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the tequila and cook for a few minutes or until almost all the tequila has evaporated.
- Add the beans, stock, poblano pepper, cumin and oregano and bring to a boil.
- If using dried beans, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender and cooked through.
- If using canned beans, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro, lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and using an immersion blender blend the soup until almost all the beans are pureed. (I like to leave a few chunky bits so the soup is not a complete puree) or if using a blender or food processor, puree half of the soup and return it to the pot. Simmer for another 5 minutes over low heat and serve with the chipotle crema, tortilla chips and avocado slices. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.
To Make the Chipotle Crema
- Whisk together all the ingredients. This can be made a day in advanced and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.