Friday, April 8, 2011

Mixed up Weather and a Mixed-up Soup

75 degree days and 27 degree nights have kept my gardening efforts confined to my indoor seedlings and some alfalfa sprouts, though the peas planted on St. Patrick's day are now emerging.  I'm down to 35 tomato seedlings and 13 yellow pepper seedlings.  Since I do not have room for this many plants in the entire yard things are looking good so far.  The lettuce box lettuce garden is growing but appears to be all black seeded Simpson lettuce.  I was hoping for some arugula. 

The warmer evenings have me yearning to grill but we do not as yet have a grill.  What I have done is indulged my deep love of beans by cooking up two batches for the freezer and using some in this week's recipes.

The first batch of beans were Great Northern.  These were soaked overnight then bagged and tagged.  The freezer will continue to soak/softening and they will cook fairly quickly in recipes.  I used 2 cups in a chicken thigh and white bean braise posted earlier.

The second batch was black beans.  My favorite bean.  I cooked these in the crock pot after an overnight soak but did not salt them, using only a little smoked paprika for seasoning.  I kept the bean firm because they, too, were destined for the freezer.  But not all.  About two cups were combined in the crock pot in what is basically a dump soup.  I used chicken from a batch that I had poached earlier in water with a little chicken base, shredding the meat for future use.  Boneless, skinless chicken breast was the loss leader this week.   The poaching liquid became the "broth"  because it seemed too good to throw away. 

Chicken Enchilada Soup w/ Black Beans
Servings: 4    
  1  cup  onion -- sliced
  4  cups  low sodium chicken broth
  12 ounces  enchilada sauce -- 1 can - red
  1 cup  green salsa (salsa Verde)
  12 ounces  chicken breast, no skin, no bone, R-T-C -- cooked and shredded (2 breasts)
  14 ounces  black beans, cooked -- drained and rinsed, if using canned
  1 teaspoon  ground cumin
  1 tablespoon  lime juice (I used bottled)
  1/2  cup  Cheddar cheese -- shredded
                        tortilla chips
  4 Tablespoons  sour cream

Combine everything but the cheese, chips and sour cream
Heat through.
Crush a handful of chips in the bottom of a bowl.  Divide soup among bowls and garnish with sour cream and cheese.

This was so good.  Cilantro would have been nice but with the price of gas I wasn't running to the store.

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