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Purty Things and Black Bean Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon and Ginger

It’s been a week of the most lovely surprises. πŸ™‚ My friend Bekah popped by my office for a flurried visit from New York, bearing her beamiest of smiles, squeeziest of hugs, and this gorgeous little gardenia from her grandmother’s garden.

My dear friends Art and Donna came for dinner and brought the most wonderful house-warming gift, this exquisite dish handmade by their oh-so-talented daughter, Jennifer. I think it suits my jeweled pens splendidly! πŸ™‚

Last but not least, when I arrived home from my lovely weekend away, these little beauties were blooming like mad near my front door. πŸ™‚

They make me grin every time I’m coming or going. πŸ™‚

After some outrageously beautiful, sunny, Spring days, the rains, dark skies and chilly breezes have returned. Thus I’ve been turning to comforting, warming soups like this scrumptious Black Bean Pumpkin. The first time I read through the ingredients I was a wee bit nervous. Black beans, pumpkin, tomatoes and a bevy of spices like cinnamon, cumin and ginger are definitely not traditional companions, but it looked so yummy I had to try it. I’m SO glad I did! This soup is now a family favorite, making many a dull day cheery and interesting. πŸ™‚

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon and Ginger
(Adapted from Once Upon A Tart)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried black beans, picked through, rinsed and soaked overnight, or quick-soaked (when I don’t have time for such things, I just use 3-4 cans of black beans, drained)
6 cups cold, unsalted water (for simmering beans)
1/2 big yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 pound plum tomatoes, peeled and diced (I use 2-3 cans diced tomatoes when I want to speed things up)
(I always use more of the next three spices)
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. If doing beans from scratch: drain and rinse the soaked beans in a colander. Bring the water and beans to boil in a large soup pot over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until the beans are soft to the bite, but not falling apart or splitting. Drain the beans in a colander. 
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large soup pot over high heat, stirring frequently so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, until the onion begins to soften, 5-10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and continue to saute, stirring occasionally for about 10 more minutes, until onion is tender and translucent. 
  3. Add the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pepper to the soup pot, and saute until the tomatoes begin to break down and give off juices, 5-10 minutes. Pour in the stock, pumpkin puree, vinegar and beans. 
  4. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat to puree. Pureeing makes it a thick, smooth, more cohesive soup, but you still want the texture of the black beans so don’t puree it all. Serve warm.
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