In honor of all things Brazilian, from samba to waxes… OK, well, maybe not waxes… here's a hearty, lively black bean soup studded with golden chunks of sweet potato and mango. You can easily make it vegetarian if you like, but the chorizo rounds out the broth beautifully if you're cool with, y'know, meat. This soup could also definitely handle one or two more chiles, depending on your family's tastes.
The bright colors and interplay of flavors remind me of a Mardi Gras parade, which is funny, because the boys and I were just (a very sober and decidedly non-dancing) part of the Mardi Gras parade on Mississippi Avenue this afternoon. Boise-Eliot Elementary had quite the troupe of drummers, dancers and mummers making their way down the street. I got a few strands of beads (that I didn't even have to earn the hard way) and the boys scooped up plenty of candy. Think I could turn it into soup somehow?
Carnaval Black Bean Soup
Serves eight to ten
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound chorizo, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch each of salt and ground pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups stock
2 medium orange sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups black beans, either dried/cooked or canned/drained
1 10-ounce bag frozen mango chunks, partially thawed (I just dumped them in a bowl and left it on top of the stove while everything else cooked)
1 tsp (Drunken Angel) hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot and add chorizo. Cook, stirring to break up, until browned. Drain off all but 3 Tbsp fat (if needed).
Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
Add tomatoes, stock and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. (Jim thought I didn't get the potatoes quite tender enough last night. Be warned!)
Add beans and mango chunks; simmer until heated through, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in hot sauce and cilantro; remove from heat; taste and correct seasoning as needed.
Excellent with cornbread (especially the Southern-style unsweet buttermilk kind, a delicious batch of which Jim whipped up last night). It would also be good with rice, but we had that fairly recently, so we skipped it this time.