Chili Soup with Black Beans and Barley
Chili Soup with Black Bean and Barley has deep, rich flavors because it includes so many different vegetables. The omnivores who ate it all agreed; they didn’t miss the meat. For die-hard meat eaters, however, add 2 cups diced cooked chicken, steak, or roast beef (a great use for leftovers). Regular supermarket chili powder may be used in Chili Soup with Black Beans and Barley, but New Mexico chile powder, earthy and subtly spicy, is worth finding. Heat in New Mexico red chiles varies from package to package. Before adding to soup, taste and adjust the amount to suit your palate. I add 2 Tbsp. of medium-hot New Mexico chile powder; those who prefer mild-flavored food should start with 1 Tbsp. and only add more after tasting. Garnishes are optional. I like using them because they turn the soup into delicious warm weather fare. This soup goes well with Rustic Greek Cornbread with Feta. If using a newly purchased bag of Bob’s Red Mill Bountiful Black Bean Soup Mix, there’s no need to soak the beans. Older beans should be soaked overnight in cold water (or pour boiling water over them and soak for one hour before cooking).
4 cups diced yellow onion, 1/4” dice
2 cups diced fennel (core discarded), 1/4” dice
2 cups diced parsnip (core discarded), 1/4” dice
1 cup diced carrot, 1/4” dice
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1-2 Tbsp. New Mexico chile powder
2 tsp. cumin seeds, ground
2 tsp. coriander seeds, ground
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Black Bean Soup Mix (or 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup black eyed peas, 1/4 cup navy beans, and 1/4 cup pearl barley)
8 cups vegetable stock or water
2 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed
2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced red onion, 1/8” dice
1/4 cup diced jalapeño pepper, 1/8” dice
1-2 limes, each cut into 8 wedges
Sauté yellow onions, fennel, parsnip, and carrots, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil. When onions start to turn golden, stir in garlic, chile powder, cumin, and coriander. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in Black Bean Soup Mix until thoroughly combined. Add vegetable stock, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are tender. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
Place soup in bowls and top with cilantro, red onion, and jalapeño pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges and extra garnishes on the side.