Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Souper Simple

I am a soup fan. My mom is a soup fan. Keith is on the fence. So with my mom's visit over the weekend, soup was on the menu and I had a new recipe I wanted to try and it didn't disappoint. It's a keeper and even Keith agrees. I think it appeals to Keith because 1) it is very thick and hearty, more like a chili or stew than a broth-y soup, and 2) it has beer in it.

Beer-Braised Pork and Black Bean Soup
Real Simple, October or November 2011 (I think)

2 12-ounce bottles of beer (preferably lager)
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
   (I found these in the Latin cooking section of the grocery store, not with the salsa and tortillas)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt (pork shoulder)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 fresh cilantro

In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine the beer, 3 cups water, the chilies, adobo sauce, cumin, onion, beans, pork, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Set the slow cooker to high and cook, covered, until the beans are tender and the pork pulls apart easily, 4 hours. (I set mine on low for 8 hours and that worked fine.) Using a fork, separate the pork into large pieces. Divide among individual bowls and top with the sour cream, salsa, and cilantro.

It isn't the prettiest meal I have ever made, but it tasted good and you can't beat a one-pot slow cooker meal! I also made a batch of these oatmeal rolls to eat with it. And though we are soup lovers, I think my mom and I could have just made a dinner out of the fresh rolls spread with butter. Maybe man cannot live on bread alone, but I know a few women that can.

We used a stout beer from our local microbrewery and the soup kept some serious beer flavor which might not be as evident with a lager. The chipotle chilies and adobo sauce really turned the heat up (think buffalo chicken-level heat) so I think next time I will try just a can of green chilies to get a bit of the bite but less heat. We used a lot more than 1/2 cup of sour cream because it helped to mellow out the spiciness.

Keith and I ate some of the leftovers Sunday night for dinner, putting it on tortilla chips with some sour cream, cheese, and salsa and eating them like nachos and that was great too. We froze the rest to eat later. Simple, hearty, and tasty. Definitely a keeper.

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