Today was what New Englanders call a “raw” day: cold, rainy, windy, yuck. Just the kind of day where you want to curl up in a ball somewhere warm–in front of a fire, in a comfortable lap, or wrapped in cozy blankets–and just relax. But, alas, duty called and I had to venture out. No cozy blankets for me. I knew it was cold, rainy, and windy, but I figured I was just going to run from a warmish house to a soon-to-be-warm vehicle to a warm restaurant for lunch with a friend, then to a warm store for some errands, then back to a warmish house. Who needs winter outerwear for that? I forgot that I had to fill up the vehicle with gas. I was wishing for some winter outerwear, then! Oh, well!
The weather kind of chilled me to the bone and I had already decided that I was going to make soup for supper–the perfect meal for such a raw day. I made this soup once before, and it got rave reviews from the family. I also saved the general recipe of what I had basically just thrown together, so I was able to duplicate it. More or less. It was just the thing to chase the chill out of my body. So if you want a soup to warm you up on a cold winter day, try this one.
Smoked Sausage and Black Bean Soup
- ~1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
- 6-8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I prefer baby bella mushrooms)
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, diced
- 3-4 carrots, diced
- 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 can black beans, undrained
- ~8 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth or water with bouillon
- bay leaf
- spices/herbs–salt, black pepper, red pepper, cumin, allspice, dried cilantro or parsley
- a splash of wine, optional (for you, maybe; not for me)
- olive oil and/or butter
I sliced and diced all my ingredients to a fairly uniform size. In a stock pot, pour a bit of oil and/or a couple tablespoons of butter, put on medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; sauté until onions are tender. Add the other diced and sliced ingredients and the undrained can of black beans. Add the 8 cups of liquid, 1-2 bay leaves, and (approximate amounts; adjust to your taste) 1 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp each of black pepper, red pepper, cumin, and allspice; 1/2 tbsp cilantro or parsley; a splash of wine (I used whatever I had on hand-red, in this case).
Heat soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until carrots and sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with a nice, crusty bread or some crackers.
The thing we like about this soup is that it has a little bit of a hot bite to it, but also has the slight sweetness of the sweet potatoes and carrots. The cumin adds to the smokiness of the sausage and the allspice adds a nice warmth, along with the peppers. I use cilantro, but some people abhor it, so parsley is a suitable substitute. Adjust the spices to your taste, especially the salt, depending on how salty your broths are. You can also change the wine to whatever you like or have on hand. You could also just throw everything into a slow cooker and let it cook all day on low, while you are at work or wherever. If you choose this method, omit the oil/butter as there will be no need to sauté the onion and celery.
If you make this soup, please let me know what you think. Enjoy!