Friday, 12 September 2014

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup

With the cold temperatures that we have been experiencing lately, not to mention the unseasonable, winter-like conditions, it seems timely to post a hearty, hot, satisfying comfort food recipe. Packed with nutrition, this soup fits the bill. In fact, it is so dense that it is more like a stew than a soup, and makes a perfectly easy home-cooked meal. Put it in the crock pot in the morning, and you have an easy suppertime meal waiting for you and your family at the end of the day. (And a wonderful smell drifting, tantalizingly, through the house!)

black beans and chicken are truly super-foods 
Colour is, by and large, a key indicator of a food's health properties. Black bean's intense, dark colour is a clue that they are loaded with nutritional value.

Packed with nutrition, black beans are one of the planet's
beans are loaded with fibre Nutritionally, they are one of the best sources of fibre on earth and it is well known that diets that are high in fibre lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. And it is wonderful, health-promoting soluble fibre. We need at least 30-35 grams of fibre a day and many arguments have been made for a daily intake of up to 100 grams. The average North American gets a measly 11grams. Beans are one of the easy ways to get it back into your diet giving you from 11-17g/cup. So beans are loaded with fibre.

beans regulate your blood sugar Their fibre slows down the rate by which glucose is absorbed. They are the ultimate low glycemic-index food.

beans reduce your risk of developing cancer The Nurses Health II Study found that eating beans or lentils two (or more) times a week resulted in a 24% reduced risk. Diosgenin, a physiochemical found in legumes, appears to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying. There are also the saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid phytochemicals that protect cells from the type of genetic damage that can lead to cancer in the first place. Saponins slow the growth of tumours. Protease inhibitors slow the division of cancer cells. Phytic acid slows the progression of tumours.

chicken is a high quality protein
It also contains small amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.  Niacin is a B-vitamin that is important in energy metabolism, in the metabolism of fats in our bodies, and in the biochemical functions that are needed to maintain healthy skin and a properly functioning gastrointestinal tract and nervous system.

Sunworks' chickens are ethically raised, free-range and
organic, maximizing health for your family and for the land.
chicken meat contains selenium Selenium is a trace mineral that is one of the most important nutrients in the human diet because it is a powerful antioxidant and a diet low in selenium is associated with an increased incidence of several types of cancer (including lung, skin, colorectal and prostate).

chicken contains healthy dietary fat Sausages, because they include the dark meat of a chicken, are higher in fat content (a little of which is the unhealthy saturated variety); but it is interesting to note that most of the fat in chicken is monounsaturated fat, as long as you are not eating the skin and visible fat.

Warm, chunky, healthy, hearty, satisfying and delicious.
black bean and chorizo soup
Slightly sweet, a touch spicy, warm & satisfying; this is the ultimate fall comfort soup. Serve, topped with grated cheese and a wonderful, hearty slice of toast made from Owen's protein-rich Prairie Mill Bread and you have a satisfying and comfort-filled fall dinner.

I much prefer to use my black beans from the dried state as they aren't mushy and retain a lot more of their satisfying texture. And it is very easy to do, as long as you think ahead the evening before you plan to make this soup.

long soak method for preparing black beans

Using this method also saves you money as dried beans cost pennies, when purchased in the bulk food section of your local grocery store, compared to the cost of beans in a can. For even steeper savings, find an ethnic (East Indian) grocery store and buy them by the kilogram!
Black beans are so simple to prepare at home. Packed
with nutrition, they save you money and have far better
texture when prepared from their dried state.

For this recipe, use 2 cups of dried black beans, and prepare them using a stove top method (they will double in bulk). There are other methods as well, including a quick soak method, that cooks them first, then soaks them, then cooks them again; and there is a slow cooker method. Google them.

Rinse the beans, removing any stones or debris (sometimes thee is the odd stick in the package!). Place them in a large bowl with 3 times their volume of water. Let them soak overnight or up to 24 hours with 1 teaspoon baking soda. Drain, discarding soaking water, and rinse.

In a saucepan, cover the beans with 3x their new volume of water. Bring to a boil for 30-45 minutes, or until the beans squish when pressed between your fingers. Reduce heat, cover & simmer until beans are tender, about 30-80 minutes (depending on their variety, age & size).

I cook the beans while I am preparing the other ingredients for this recipe and put them into the crock pot, hot, at the very end. Drain & discard cooking water.

Sunworks has a weekly deal where you can purchase
sausages at a discounted price when you purchase
10 or more packages.
12oz fresh chorizo sausage, sliced (or hot or mild Italian sausage and add 1 tsp. paprika)
1 onion, chopped
4-6 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. pepper
5 c. low-fat, low-salt, chicken broth
2- 19oz cans black beans, drained (or 4 c. cooked)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 red pepper, diced
1½ c.  frozen or fresh corn kernels Sunworks

Sauté sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain any fat from skillet. (I find that with the Sunworks' sausages, there isn't any extra fat to get rid of... in fact, you might have to add a splash of water to the pan to cook them thoroughly without charring them.)

Add the onion, carrots, chill powder, fennel seeds & pepper to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape into the slow cooker.
Prairie Mill Bread is wonderfully hearty and packed with
protein. Toasted, it is the perfect accompaniment for this
recipe (and it is even better, when dipped in the soup!).
Pictured here is Owen's sunflower bread.

Add 1 cup of the broth to the skillet & bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Scrape into the slow cooker, along with remaining broth, black beans & tomato paste. Stir to combine.

Cover & cook on low until slightly thickened, about 6 hours.

Add red pepper and corn and cook over high heat for about 15 minutes until hot.

Serve, topped with cheese and a wonderful, hearty slice of toast made from Owen's Prairie Mill Bread and you have a satisfying and comfort-filled fall dinner.

where can you find ingredients at our market?
  • Sunworks Farm has outstanding, wonderful tasting, organic chicken sausages. Their Chorizo Italian versions work really well in this recipe.
  • The PlotDargatz Family FarmRiverbend Gardens  and the Holden Colony, have carrots & onions every week.
  • Holden Colony and S4 Greenhouses have beautiful red peppers each and every week.
  • Prairie Mill bread is made from organic Red Fief Wheat, that is ground into flour on site at Owen's Bakery in our community. Now that's local! Because it is made with Red Fief Wheat, it is very high in protein... one slice of his bread packs double the amount of protein that you would find in a regular slice of whole wheat bread!
  • For possibly the next 2 markets, depending on what happens with our crazy fall weather, Riverbend Gardens and the Holden Colony will have corn on the cob fresh from their fields
Recipe from the Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection, p. 37
Nutritional Information from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, by Jonny Bowden.
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Contributed by Sheri Hendsbee

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