Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spicy black bean and orzo soup

Unlike last year, I will not be hosting Thanksgiving dinner. And while it was fun, I am more than happy to return the torch back to my sister this year. But as is what happens before any long weekend in which I am going to be away, I am on a mission to finish any perishables in my fridge. Which usually involves a little creativity and making use of some staples from the pantry, since I hate to buy more groceries just before a long weekend. So what does one do with a handful of baby carrots, a few stalks of limp celery and an onion? Make soup, of course!

Since I wanted to do something different than the classic chicken noodle soup (and since I hadn't had the foresight to defrost any chicken), I decided to add a can of black beans. When I tasted the soup, I felt it needed something more to jazz it up - so I added some cumin to bring out the smokiness of the beans, and a few dashes of chipotle tabasco sauce. I'm quite pleased with the end result, and even more pleased I didn't need to make a trip to the grocery store to buy any of the ingredients!

Spicy black bean and orzo soup


About 1 cup baby carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
A couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
a few dashes of chipotle tabasco sauce
2/3 cup orzo

Start boiling the pasta water with a generous pinch of salt. Add orzo when it comes to a boil. Cook for about a minute or two less than the time indicated on the instructions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, chop the vegetables. Add oil to another pot and heat on medium-high heat. Add vegetables, stirring frequently for about 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add chicken broth, beans, bay leaf and spices and tabasco. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Allow it to simmer, covered, for about twenty minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

I like to keep the orzo separate from the soup, until just before serving, since I am one person, and can't eat it all right away. My concern is that if there are leftovers the pasta will absorb all the liquid and get mushy. But go ahead and toss it in if you plan on eating it all right away.

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