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Soup is one of the perfect one-pot foods.  Everything goes in at a the appointed time, percolates for a while, maybe a little blending at the end and ta da!  Deliciousness.  This recipe started, like so many, with a dinner party.  Soup is an excellent dish for a casual get together.  Simple food puts people at ease and soup can wait until you are ready to eat.  One more glass of wine?  Don’t mind if I do.

I really like this soup because in addition to being easy and quick, it delivers layers of flavor and texture.  When you serve it, be sure to include the garnish.  The saltiness of the feta cheese and the fresh flavor of the cilantro and green onions make an excellent complement to the hearty black beans.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 large celery rib, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • two 15- to 16-ounce cans cuban-style black beans
  • one 14- to 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped green onions
  • Crumbled feta cheese

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Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Take care not to burn the garlic.

Mix in cumin and  red chili pepper flakes.

Cook for 1 minute.  Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth.  Bring soup to boil.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer 3 cups of soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  Then return the puree to the pot.

Simmer soup uncovered until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with cilantro, green onions, and feta cheese.

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