Long title. I know. But this post has a lot to offer – a super yummy and healthy new soup recipe, a mini review of New England Country Soup’s convenient and natural soup brand and the opportunity to show your support for my recipe in a Soup Challenge.
I’ll do my best to keep it short.
Here’s the background. I was invited by the New England Country Soup to taste test their soups AND enter their Soup Challenge. I happily accepted!
Their Story The company was founded by three “foodies” frustrated with the traditional soup products on store shelves. They had a simple objective: make great tasting, good for you, shelf-stable soups with the same, all natural ingredients they use in their kitchen. Lastly, they wanted their soups to be easy to use and friendly to the environment. Mission accomplished. They offer eight varietals that pack in simple, natural and fresh ingredients. Oh and good news, they are sold outside New England! Find your local retailer.
My Story I received a few different soups and was immediately impressed with the awesome packaging. Not only eco-friendly, the pouches are so easy to prepare. Just put the pouch in the microwave and bam – instant “home-cooked” soup.
I received a few varietals and decided to select the Black Bean to “challenge.” A bean lover at heart with a fascination for mexican cuisine and an obsession for spice and heat, the choice seemed obvious.
I had some friends join me for a “taste off:” Progresso Black Bean soup vs. New England Country Soup. It was a fun, yet efficient way to help me prep and brainstorm how I would perfect my own Black Bean soup recipe.
After testing our pallets and gathering feedback, I took note of the heartiness, flavors, spiciness and thickness of the two versions. In my own execution, I was then able to maintain the healthiness and slight heat of the New England version, but still incorporate the smokiness of the Progresso version without adding bacon. By incorporating additional veggies like carrots and celery, I took a fiber-rich, nutritious soup to the next level.
The Recipe If you like the recipe, do me a favor and vote for my Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Soup recipe by clicking here
What you’ll need:
- Dry black beans (16 oz)
- Chopped tomatoes (1 1/2 cups)
- Dried Chipotle Pepper (2)
- Chopped Garlic (6 cloves)
- Chopped Carrots (1 cup)
- Chopped celery (1 cup)
- Cumin (1 tbsp)
- Water (3 cups)
- Sea Salt (1 tbsp)
- 10. Jalapeno Peppers (2 chopped)
- Red bell pepper (1 medium size)
- Cilantro (2 hand fulls)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 tbsp)
- 1 onion chopped
- My Challenge recipe called for no more than 14 ingredients, but here are other suggestions when you make your version – fresh squeezed lime juice, green peppers, bay leaves (be sure the bay leaves don’t get pureed though!)
- Soak beans in water (just enough water so beans are covered) for 15 minutes
- Chop all veggies
- Sauté carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos, red peppers in EVOO in soup pot
- Add beans (after 15 minutes) to veggies
- Add cumin, cilantro, dried chipotles and salt to beans and veggies
- Add 3 cups water
- Simmer for 2 hours
- Puree half of soup (be sure not to puree the chipotles, leave those in the pot)
- Add pureed portion back into pot
- Cook for 1 more hour
- Remove Chipotles
- Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top and garnish with lime wedge (optional – note: lime garnish adds an ingredient – not included in ingredients list!). If you want to count the lime wedge, I’d remove the celery from the recipe because the carrots will still maintain the same heartiness
Vote for my recipe – it’s only a click away!