Sending much love and light to you all from Costa Rica.
After 24 hours travelling, we arrived in the forest just over a week ago and have slowly been adjusting to a different pace of life: in between assisting a five day primal feelings workshop, racing into the ocean, listening to the howler monkeys and walking through the river as the last rains of the season fall, we have also managed to play with some local ingredients and it might come as no surprise that black beans are top of the list.
As many of you tuck in to roasted turkey and all the glorious trimmings back home, I thought I would post this simple, delicious and happily comforting soup in case you feel the need for an antidote to endless festive eating, drinking and all their demands on the body. It is super economical to make, full of fragrant spices and the perfect nutritional dumping ground for whatever treats you want to throw on top. We have homemade goat’s milk labaneh here – one up from sour cream – and organic avocados as green as apples and as soft as butter. A dollop of hummus or cashew cream (for vegans) or some crumbled feta with a jalapeno would also go down a storm. Ideally you would also have an abundance of fresh parsley and / or coriander to throw on top but we could not find any here.
Oh, and it tastes even better the next day.
Life here is unfolding slowly in its own rhythm and pace, and there is much to reflect on, crystallise and share with you in the new year. But first, preparing for a silent retreat to say goodbye to this one.
2 cups black beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of smoked paprika
1 ripe avocado
4 tbsp sour cream / cashew cream (or alternatives)
fresh herbs, chopped
a sprinkling of black sesame seeds
In a medium saucepan, boil your beans in some lightly salted water (about 1/2 teaspoon) over a low heat for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until soft but still with a little bite. You may need to add more liquid to keep them submerged so keep an eye on them as you go.
Meanwhile, prepare your veggies and spices and sauté them in one tbsp of the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat until the spices release their aroma and the onion, pepper and carrot soften. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When the beans are done, remove them from the heat and strain, keeping any liquid for later. Place half of the beans in a blender, plus the vegetable or chicken stock – if you have leftover liquid, you can add this in to the mix and use a little less stock; in total you want five cups’ worth. Blend until smooth, then pour into a large saucepan and add the remaining beans. Simmer on a low hear for fifteen minutes, season and adjust any spices to taste.
Serve warm with your chosen toppings and a drizzle of olive oil; leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a day or two.