Learning to Cook with 'Basically 10x10': Recipe 6

Learning to Cook with 'Basically 10x10': Recipe 6

Until this year (and before I began this Basically 10x10 adventure) my winter cooking routine has pretty much always revolved around soups: chicken tortilla soup, chicken noodle soup, broccoli cheddar soup, Italian wedding soup...you get the picture.  There’s almost nothing that can warm the soul (and bones!) more quickly than a good bowl of soup. So I gladly prepped the onions, carrots, and garlic for this recipe on the abnormally chilly November day I had chosen to whip this sucker up a few weekends ago. I suggest you do the same and, bear in mind, the soup itself is a winner but the garnishes really do make it a star player!

Recipe 6: Basically Black Bean Soup

**Assistance images from Basically


  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 medium carrot

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 7-oz tin chipotle chilis in adobo, or 2 tbsp. hot sauce

  • 1 lb. dried black beans (not soaked)

  • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more

  • 3 limes

  • 1 cup whole-milk greek yogurt

  • Cilantro, sliced avocado, crushed Fritos, finely chopped onion, lime wedges, and / or hot sauce (for serving; optional)

What you’ll Need

  • Measuring cups

  • Measuring spoons

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Chef’s knife

  • Cutting board

  • Large pot

  • Wooden spoon

  • Glass measuring cup

  • Microplane

  • Small bowl

  • Ladle


1. Start by doing a little prep work. Peel and chop 1 onion and 1 carrot.

2. Peel 3 garlic cloves by smashing each firmly with the flat side of a knife to break into smaller pieces. Discard skins. The cool thing about prepping garlic for any kind of long-cooking preparation like this is that it will have plenty of time to break down and infuse the whole soup with garlicky goodness, which means there's no need to go through the tedious process of mincing the cloves finely.

3. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, 5–7 minutes. Don't worry if the veggies start sticking to the bottom of the pan a little bit—that's a good thing! Those little browned bits have a ton of flavor, and we'll be adding some liquid in the next step to get them up, a process that's also called "deglazing." Cool, huh?

4. And ¼ cup red wine vinegar and cook, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, until vinegar is reduced by about half.

5. Add 2 Tbsp. adobo sauce from can of chiles and stir to coat. (Feel free to add more adobo sauce if you're craving more heat and smokiness; just remember: You can always add more later, but you can't take any away.)

6. Add 1 lb. dried black beans, 1½ tsp. oregano, 1 Tbsp. salt, and 8 cups water. That's right: no boxed stock! The beans are going to create their own delicious broth as they simmer away. Bring up to a boil over high heat, then drop the heat down low so that the beans are justsimmering. Cover pot with a lid.

7. Simmer, stirring every 30 minutes to prevent sticking, until beans are tender and creamy, 1½–2 hours. How long it takes will depend entirely on how fresh your beans are—the longer they've been sitting on the shelf, the longer they're going to take to cook. That's why we try to buy dried beans from stores where we know their inventory moves. (You can't always tell, but dust on the bag is never a good sign.) As the beans cook, you may need to top off with a bit more hot water if too much of it cooks off; you want to make sure the beans are submerged.

8. Meanwhile, assemble your garnishes. They're going to be the difference between an extremely simple—and delicious!—pot of black bean soup and something that feels fun and kind of fancy. The first thing we're going to make is a kind of creamy lime-yogurt to dollop on top. First, place 1 cup yogurt in a small bowl. Finely grate zest from 1 lime into bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze in juice.

9. Season yogurt mixture with salt. Give it a taste and add another pinch of salt if it doesn't pop. Easy, and kind of fancy, non? Cut remaining 2 limes into wedges for squeezing over the soup.

10. Prepare any other (optional) garnishes you may like. Slice some ripe avocado. Put some Fritos or tortilla chips or corn nuts in a bowl. Pick some cilantro leaves. Chop some onion, or thinly slice some scallions. Shred some cabbage. If you ask us, the more garnishes, the better!

11. Taste and season soup with salt, if needed. Remember: Beans can handle quite a bit of salt, so don't be afraid to add more if it tastes kind of "meh." You can serve right away, but we usually like to let a bean soup like this hang out for at least a half hour after we've finished seasoning it so that the salt in the cooking liquid can work its way into the beans themselves. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with yogurt mixture, and serve with lime wedges and any other garnishes your heart desires.

12. Do Ahead: Soup, without garnishes, can be made 1 week ahead; store in an airtight container and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Assessment: I loved this recipe - especially how quick and easy it was to make! The soup is delicious on its own, but I really loved it best when I piled on as many of the garnishes as possible.  The soup itself was full of flavor and certainly left me feeling nourished, but the garnishes are truly the star players in this recipe.  Garnish, garnish, garnish to your heart's content!

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