Monday, April 16, 2007

Black Bean Soup de l'échec

(this will be fine if you eliminate the last step)

• Cut half of a 1-1/2 lb wodge of frozen thick-cut bacon (much easier frozen) into lardons--cross-wise, then in half again. Wing the opaque fatty planks (they'll separate while cooking) into a cold stock pot, in this case the big pitted thin enameled alumnimum pan that any foodie would be ashamed to make soup in but somehow never gets replaced* [NOTE THIS FACT IT WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER]. Turn on low/medium low.

• Once the bacon has rendered and become very very crisp (stir a few times to encourage separation), after maybe half hour to 45 minutes, remove the bacon to a soup plate, draining it from the rendered fat.

• Toss in two one-lb. packages of ground chicken breast, along with salt and pepper, into the bacon fat. Break up the meat, and stir occasionally, keeping it broken up, as it cooks.

• Prepare vegetables in a rough chop. Something like this: two red onions, two green peppers, four carrots, five/six cloves of garlic. Puree the vegetables in batches, along with (total) two bottles of Goose Island IPA. Add the vegetable purees to the chicken in the pot as they are done.

• Add spices. This time: cumin, sage, paprika, oregano. Whatever.

• Now puree three cans black beans and one supplementary can of cannelini (if you run out of black) in the same fashion, using 1/2 of a 2 c. can of low-sodium chicken stock. Wing all those in the pan too. Stir stir stir. (Why all the puree-ing? And before the sauteeing? [which would be better] The main reason, other than a really old blender that might not be able to keep up, is the strong memory of food-processing cups of hot pasta fazool that after a big superheated explosion meant you were cleaning pureed bean mortar off your kitchen wall for years).

• Add the lardons back in and bring to simmer.

• Prepare for garnish: lime juice and lime wedges, more salt & pepper as necc, sour cream, and strips of tortilla. Tabasco, maybe, a lil Worchestire to finish seasoning. Any fresh herbs if you can find them, esp. cilantro.

* OH YEAH! If you don't have the required heavy-bottomed soup stock pot, DON'T TURN THE HEAT UP TOO HIGH! Instead of boiling, it will BURN. And the acrid burned taste will permeate the entire soup. And leave you sad and greiving, two hours of your life gone, your cats confused, and you short two bottles of really good ale and some very spendy bacon. $)*@&%)($*&%@)($*&)! C'est la freakin guerre.

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