I am increasingly amazed...

    ...at all the delicious flavors a soup can take. Spices alone give each there own profile and make them utterly unique.

    The following is a recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Magazine which, thanks to my negligence in renewing my subscription for the past 3 years, I was given for free as part of a welcome-back package. This soup had a great kick from the cayenne and lemon combo and the two together give the flavor of sour cream almost, that little tang you get when it lingers on the tongue. You don't need any fancy mumbo jumbo over the top - it just adds calories and distracts from the complexity of the soup, but if you must: I recommend a bit of avocado and maybe a few pieces of diced red onion.

    This is just screaming, "I'm good for you!!!"

    Spicy Black Bean Soup

    2 cans black beans and one can pinto beans
    2 cups chicken stock
    1 large onion, chopped fine
    3 scallions, sliced thin
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 pat butter plus olive oil to fry the onions in
    1 1/2 cups frozen corn
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    2 teaspoons cumin seeds (you can use cumin powder, too)
    dash apple cider vinegar
    juice from one lemon
    sprinkling of cayenne pepper
    salt, pepper, garlic powder
    1/2 - 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    To begin, heat the oil in a large pot. Dump in the yellow onion first and cook until it's translucent. Then add the scallions and garlic.

    Lower the heat and add the beans. If using canned beans, fill each of the empty cans with water and add that water as well. Then add about 1 and a half cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock).

    Add everything but the corn and increase the heat to a good simmering temperature, I'd say medium to medium-high. Cook the soup until you can see it has reduced by about a quarter inch. This takes about an hour - 15 minutes in, taste the broth and season with salt and pepper. This is the point where the flavors will still seem separate so don't worry if you taste too much lemon or cumin. Keep the pot uncovered.

    When the soup is almost at the consistency you want it, add the corn. After adding the corn, you should cook it another 3o minutes.

    I know the cook time seems long, but the great thing is, you just have to be in the house while making the soup - just to give the occasional stir.

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