Velvety Black Bean Soup

I watched a documentary the other night and I learned about something amazing I wanted to share with you. There is a tiny country in the Himalayan Mountains called Bhutan, oh, you’ve heard of it, perfect.

Back in the groovy 70’s the Dragon King of Bhutan, in an effort to build their economy” told his people that the government’s main concern would be in regards to Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product. He worked with psychologists and developed a sophisticated survey to measure Bhutan’s population’s “general level of well-being”. 

We’re talking serious Quality of Life here. 

How extraordinary that a government would focus on all the little things that mean so much. Bhutan identified eight contributors to happiness and well-being. (Surprise, those new Jimmy Choos are not on the list and neither is getting flowers sent to your office.)
  1. Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
  2. Time Balance
  3. Social and Community Vitality
  4. Cultural Vitality
  5. Education
  6.  Living Standards
  7. Good Governance
  8. Ecological Vitality
I propose that we take our happiness into our own hands, maybe take a quick step back and see if there are any small improvements you can make in any or all of these areas and make Happy happen. I see some New Year’s Resolutions in the works. 

Please post your ideas in the comment section, I would love to be inspired by your genius. 

I think I am going to start with soup.Warm and soothing, rich and thrifty at the same time, mantra inducing chopping, aromatherapy , little to no attention and once you coax the velvet out of these beans they will soothe your soul for many meals to come. 

Black Bean Soup
Six Servings 
1 pound dried black beans
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ham bone
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/3 cup white or cider vinegar

Sour cream
Chopped raw onion
Chopped red pepper
Chopped Cilantro
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Rinse your beans until the water is clear, pick through them checking for any strange, broken beans or rocks. Put the beans in the soup pot and cover with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. 

The next day, drain the water out of the pot and refill with clean cold water. Add enough water so that it comes an inch above the beans. Stir in the chopped onion, pepper, and garlic. Add the ham bone, and stir in the olive oil. 

Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 4 to 5 hours, until the beans are very soft and the soup is creamy. Check after 2 hours. If the beans seem dry or stewy, add another cup of water. The final consistency should be velvety and thick, and the soup should coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the vinegar and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered. Laddle into big bowls and garnish with your choice of toppings. 

Black bean soup is perfectly complimented by sweet fried plantains or sweet corn tamales. 

This makes a large pot of soup, and it freezes very well, but it won't make it to the freezer, you’ll want to eat it all week or share it with someone you love.

1 comment:

  1. You know I was browsing around for a good Chili recipe and somehow came across this and I think I might try this out instead. Thanks!

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