Black Bean Stew with Cilantro Pesto

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dried beans are really one of my best friends.  They may not help me get any other friends, but I really love using dried beans all the time.  They are incredibly cheap, healthy, and very filling.  The most commonly used beans in our house are black beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils, and you can find each of these beans in my pantry at any given time.  

I almost always cook my beans in the crock pot (except lentils... they cook much faster, and can be done stovetop), prior to using them in a dish, and it is totally mindless and great.  My method for cooking them in the crockpot can be found here.  Or to make things easier, I often just throw them in with a sprinkle of garlic powder and a bay leaf. It will make your house smell amazing.  

This black bean soup uses cooked beans (you are welcome to use canned, too), and feels more like a stew than my pureed black bean soup recipe.  I really love this soup, and thought the pesto was a surprisingly delicious addition.  I worried the jalapeño would be too hot (because I have wimpy tastebuds), but I found it to be just right.  I would love to see yours, should you choose to make this soup!  Tag me on social media @measureandwhisk!

Black Bean Stew with Cilantro Pesto

Adapted from Modern Sauces

2 cans black beans or 3 1/2 cups cooked black beans
3 Tbs olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 shallot
1 large carrot
2 garlic cloves
4 cup beef broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp thyme
1 cup water
1 14oz can crushed tomato
1/2 cup cilantro-almond pesto (see recipe below)

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil for 30 seconds, until hot, then add the onion, shallot and carrot.  Stirring frequently, cook until they are beginning to soften, and the onions look translucent (about 5-7 minutes).  Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so.  

Then add the broth, thyme, bay leaves and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the cup of water, and the crushed tomato and heat the soup for another 5 minutes or so.  

At this point, you can serve it as is, or puree half of it with an immersion blender, or standard blender.  Salt and pepper to taste, then serve with a dollop of cilantro pesto and sour cream.  

Cilantro-Almond Pesto
2 -3 cups cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 small jalapeño stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except olive oil in a food processor.  Blend for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is broken down.  Then add the olive oil in 1/8 cup increments, and blend between each edition until the oil is blended thoroughly with the other ingredients.  Refrigerate until use.



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