One of my favorite things about the weather growing colder is making and eating soup. I love how you can make it in a jiffy and serve it with bread and salad for dinner or lunch, and it's usually even tastier leftover. Here is one of my favorite soup recipes, thanks to chef Stuart Jacobsen (his recipe is in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts' The Fine Art of Soup, which has, sadly, gone out of print). He actually soaks the beans for 36 hours, but because I never have the foresight to start cooking that early, I just use canned and drained black beans.
Black Bean Soup
3 cans black beans, drained
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 t. coriander
3 T olive oil
1 t. oregano
4 cups yogurt
1 t. salt
4 cups water or chicken broth
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 t. ground cumin
3 T. vinegar
several hot peppers, crushed, or 1/2 t. ground black pepper (optional)
chopped Bermuda onions and/or chopped green peppers for garnish (optional)
Saute garlic and onions in oil until wilted. Add spices and tomatoes, water or broth and bring to a boil. Add beans. Simmer for 1 hour. Add more water if necessary. Add salt and pepper. Let cool a bit and puree in blender or food processor. May be stored in refrigerator or freezer. For each serving, place 1/3 cup yogurt in sauce pan. Add 2/3 cup of bean puree. Heat gently. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn off heat and serve with garnishes. Serves 12.
My boys' favorite autumn meal is Dinner in a Pumpkin, which has become a tradition. You can find this recipe in the Junior League of Ogden's cookbook, The Art of Cooking. It sounds kind of weird, but I promise it's delicious.
1 small or medium pumpkin
1 onion, chopped
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2- 2 pounds ground beef
2 T soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
Cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out the seeds and pulp. Paint a face on the front with a permanent marker. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onions in oil until tender. Add mean and brown. Drain drippings, add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, and soup. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts. Spoon mixture into the pumpkin shell. Replace top of pumpkin and place entire pumpkin with filling on a baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until the inside of the pumpkin is tender. Cooking time might vary up to 2 hours, depending on size of pumpkin. Place entire pumpkin on serving platter, remove lid, and serve mixture plus meat of the pumpkin.
So, now that I've shared 2 of my favorite fall-weather meals, what are yours?