Black Bean Soup and Cheese Dip

This is an attempt as a nearly 100% local meal. The only things that aren’t local are some of the spices, the flour, and the oil. If anyone knows a source for locally grown and produced oil and flour in the Denver area I’d love to hear about it.

Now, on to the recipes.

There is a lovely lady at the DUH farmer’s market on Saturdays from Berry Patch Farms that I buy from every time I’m there. A few weeks ago I bought some of her heirloom black turtle beans. I don’t know why. They were just pretty and I was excited about a local source of protein. So I decided to make a black bean soup. But to make it go farther I decided to also make some cheese dip with some local raw cheddar that was on it’s last legs.

98.9% Local Black Turtle Bean Soup

Ingredients:
1lb black turtle beans (try Berry Patch Farm’s beans if you’re in the area!)
1 red onion
5 cloves of garlic
cumin
paprika
HOT dried chili peppers (only a tiny bit!)
water

First off, soak the beans over night if you’ve got the time. For 6 hours if you’re impatient and forgetful like I am.
Leave the beans in their water and dice up a red onion.
In the bottom of a large pot put some oil, olive or otherwise, and turn the heat on medium.
Add the onions and let them slowly cook and get all caramel-y.
While the onions are cooking, take your 5 cloves of garlic and place them on the cutting board. Then, one at a time, place the flat of your chef knife against the clove and WHACK it with the heel of your hand. Feel very satisfied. Then you can easily peel the clove. Repeat with all cloves and then give the garlic a fast chop and toss it in with the onions.
Next I add cumin, paprika, and hot chili flakes to taste. I go for a nice palm-full of cumin and the same for the paprika. This gives the final soup a nice smoky flavor. I went for a small-ish piece of the dried hot pepper. Oh holy crap. I bought them in the fall and they dried on my counter and the guy I bought them from told me at least 7 times that they were hot peppers. I was like “OK, thanks, I wanted hot peppers. That’s why I’m buying them.” Well, I think he called them Volcano Peppers. They live up to their name, they are awesomely hot. Just what this soup needed.
I like to let the spices get all nice and acquainted with the onions and the oil.
THEN, drain the beans and dump them into the pot. It’ll sizzle. And finally cover the beans with a few inches of water.
Let the soup simmer for about 1.5 hours or until the beans are done to your preference.
Black bean soup just doesn’t look all that great in pictures. Sorry. You’ll have to wait.

While the soup is cooking, make some cheese dip to snack on and drizzle on top!

Nearly 100% Local Cheese Dip
Now, I know lots of people swear by Velveeta for cheese dip. But I have to say, this was mighty tasty and much more local, and probably much better for you, than Velveeta.

Ingredients:
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 c milk
2 c shredded cheddar cheese (I used some raw local farmhouse cheddar)
spices:
cumin
salt
hot chili flakes
dill seeds
chili powder
paprika
garlic powder
onion powder

OK, so the first thing to do is to make a roux. This is a very good skill to learn. So, here’s how you do it.
First, melt the 2 T of butter in a sauce pan over medium low heat.
Next, when it’s all good and melted, add in the 2 T of flour.

Whisk it all up nice and good.

Let it cook for about a minute.
That’s a roux!
Next, I usually add in the spices. Here’s a general idea of how I measure the spices:
First, the cumin.
Next, the paprika.

Then the garlic powder.

And the onion powder.

And then you realize you’re out of dill seeds and you cry.
Dill seeds are pretty freakin awesome in this cheese dip.
So, yeah. It’s about 1 teaspoon of each.

And this is not quite my normal cheese dip recipe. I was just trying to make it as local as possible so I cut out some of the usual ingredients. I’ll share it sometime. If Pop gives his permission, that is.

Back to the recipe!
Let the spices and roux cook for about one more minute. Make sure the heat stays medium low, we don’t want this yummy goodness to burn!
Next, add in the 2 c of local milk (we always get the cream top milk) and whisk around.

Now’s also the time to dump in all of the cheese that you’ve shredded.

Whisk it all together and continue whisking until the cheese sauce thickens and the cheese is all melted and incorporated.

Don’t forget to add some kick with hot pepper flakes!

Recruit your lovely assistant to help with the whisking, if you please.

Dip chips into the cheesy, spicy, goodness.

Now, your soup should be ready.
See, black bean soup just doesn’t look pretty cooking.
Ladle some of that into a bowl and drizzle some of the cheese dip on top.
Enjoy!

The leftover beans and cheese dip also make for awesome burritos the next day.

Note: non-local items included: chips, flour, and some of the spices.

Where I shopped:
Twin Mountain Milkhouse — Farmhouse Cheddar
Morning Fresh Dairy–Cream Top Milk
Berry Patch Farms–Heirloom Black Turtle Beans, red onion, garlic

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