Soups are good, especially when it's chilly outside and your husband keeps the thermostat below 60...Just kidding, we don't keep it that low...yet.
This soup is an easy one and it's pretty quick, too. The ingredients are few and simple, but it does take a little bit of thought. The salsa has to be picked carefully because it can affect the consistency of the soup, and potentially the taste, too.
We typically use olive oil where recipes call for vegetable oil. While vegetable oil is generally cheaper, we just don't keep it on hand and just like the taste olive oil gives our food a little better. We typically chop or mince our own garlic rather than use the bottle type. It's an ingredient we use pretty often, so we almost always have some on hand. While we prefer fresh cilantro and lime juice, we've used dried cilantro and the lime juice from one of those little plastic limes - the recipe comes out just fine. We almost always use organic black beans and organic salsa. We prefer the ones from a certain Michigan-based grocery chain. (Sorry, to a certain Cincinnati-based grocery chain.)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil.
1 tablespoon (bottled) minced garlic
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) bottle or jar of salsa
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high, add garlic; saute 1 minute. Stir in water, chipotle powder, beans and salsa. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute.
Place 3 cups of black bean mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in lime juice; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.
While the cheese is a must, we sometimes sprinkle some crushed tortilla chips (blue corn, of course!) over top. Mix it up with different kinds of salsa - we typically stick to the more "traditional" recipes, avoiding the "corn and bean" varieties or the fruity varieties. The chunkier salsa (Pace or Chi-Chi's) varieties will produce a thicker soup than the more runny or thinner types (Newman's Own).
OK, admittedly, putting a soup in blender was a little weird at first. But it really did make the soup much more smooth than we could have ever gotten it without using the blender, so it was worth being weirded out by it.
The clear beer choice might be Dos Equis (XX), but that's not what Mike would recommend. Negra Modelo or Modelo Especial may be a better choice with this soup. Although, a glass of water (with lime, of course) or milk does the job, too.