I take back yesterday’s comment about Lou being deserving of homemade peanut butter and cheese treats – this morning, his first order of business was to completely chew up Mike’s glasses. Silly me, here I was worried about our shoes.
The fantastic thing about soup is that it can start from anything. I never would have thought to combine these ingredients in soup, but I looked in my fridge tonight, still full from a late lunch at Aida’s with A (please feel free to hate me for eating so well this week. I would) and found the better half of a can of black beans (leftover from the quesadillas) and two mild Italian Spolumbos sausages that needed cooking. And the storage compartment in the seat of the bench at the kitchen table is beginning to get difficult to close – every time I go to the market I pick up sweet potatoes and add them to the stash, which hasn’t been depleted lately, so I figured sausage, black beans and sweet potatoes might make a fine soup.
Because my other favorite black bean soup is made so much better with a fresh jalapeno pepper (and I say this as someone who is not a particular fan of jalapenos), I minced one (they cost about 3 cents each and last forever in the fridge, so I happen to have a couple) and cooked it along with the sausage. Unlike onions and garlic, a hot pepper’s heat will not be tamed by cooking; if you’re a wuss like me, get rid of the seeds and membranes, which contain the majority of a pepper’s capsaicin. Then I threw in a diced sweet potato, the black beans, a 1L tetra pack of chicken stock, a shake of cumin and about a third of a can of leftover tomato sauce that was also in the fridge. I thought this soup would benefit from a hit of tomato – a bit of tomato sauce or spoonful of tomato paste gives it a far richer and deeper flavour, and the starch in the potato thickens the broth slightly.
Some of you in warmer climates may think such a soup is the exact opposite of what one might want to eat on a June evening. Honestly, Calgary does have its share of 30 degree days, but today it’s damp and chilly; we all huddled into kangaroo jackets in order to go outside and see how the garden is recovering from the hailstorm A and I watched out the window at Aida’s while we finished our ricotta-rosewater cheesecake and baklava. When the forecast calls for a week of rain, I’ll be glad to have a pot of leftover soup in the fridge. Besides, Mike is suffering from a hangover, and I can’t think of much more reviving than a warm bowl of spicy black beans, sweet potatoes and sausage.
Sausage, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
a drizzle of canola or olive oil
1-2 mild or hot Italian sausages
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 19 oz. (540 mL) can black beans, drained
1 tsp. cumin
1 L chicken or vegetable stock
about a cup of tomato sauce or a big spoonful of tomato paste
In your soup pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat. Squeeze the sausage out of its casing into the pot and cook it, breaking it up as you stir it around, until it’s no longer pink. Add the jalapeno pepper, then the sweet potato, beans, cumin, stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour, until the potatoes are tender and the broth has thickened a bit.
Per serving, based on 4 servings: 416 calories, 7.7 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 3.8 g monounsaturated fat, 1.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 27.8 g protein, 60.5 g carbohydrate, 30 mg cholesterol, 14 g fiber. 16% calories from fat.