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too good to be true? kind of.

February 12 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Soup » 13 comments


Making this soup felt a little like cheating.  Not A-Rod-style cheating or anything: just too easy.  To make it, I chopped up a few vegetables (sad looking ones, at that: a misshapen onion, a droopy stalk of celery, a lone carrot tucked in the back of the crisper drawer), cranked open a few cans, tore into a bag of frozen corn kernels and, presto!, a soup was born.


And a good soup, too: one that’s shot through with a warm, smoky heat and brightened up with a squeeze of lime juice.  Not just that, but it’s pretty!  Sunny corn niblets, bright orange chunks of carrot, and whisps of minced cilantro all bob in the rosy broth, alongside purple-black beans.


The return (tasty!  pretty!) for my investment (fast! pantry/freezer staples!) felt too good to be true.  I had to be missing something, right?  As it turns out, the soup didn’t hold up that well over time (which undermines my usual number one reason for making soup: leftovers).  My guess is that it was too many canned/frozen ingredients.  I’ve dutifully toted leftovers to work all week, but day by day, the flavors became more muted, the beans less toothsome and the corn more water-logged.   If I’d had them on hand, I suspect a fresh spritz of lime or creamy wedges of avocado or a dollop of sour cream (or all three!) could’ve pepped the soup back up.  I’m also wondering if a couple variations (admittedly more time-consuming and less convenient) might help too: dried beans soaked overnight and cooked slowly back to plumpness; fresh corn shaved off the corn in the height of the summer.  In the meantime, I think I’ll save this recipe for the nights when I’m pinched for time and I don’t want to make a run to the store.  And, I’ll be sure to make a single or half-batch too.


Black-Bean Corn Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper, canned in adobo sauce, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferaby Mexican oregano)
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, for a vegetarian soup)
1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt, to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
juice of 1 lime

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent and the vegetables soften.  Add the chipotle, cumin and oregano and saute for another couple minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, broth and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Add corn, cilantro and lime juice.  Serve with additional cilantro and lime wedges.

13 comments so far. »
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  1. Matt says on February 13 2009 at 7:31 am:

    What great timing! My wife and I are having friends over tonight and this soup is a perfect addition to the meal. Thanks!

  2. Anticiplate says on February 13 2009 at 8:48 am:

    Love your new site! I am about to have a newly designed wordpress site too! I am just waiting for it to get back with the new code.

    The soup look gorgeous, especially the photo. I love CIlantro in photos.

  3. AsianFoodGallery says on February 13 2009 at 9:56 am:

    the soup look so delicious, great shooting too, just love it.

    hi I am Jon Looi

  4. Lindsey says on February 13 2009 at 12:09 pm:

    I wonder if it’d hold-up okay if you froze it. That might be a good way to do the quick and easy, but not end up with half cans of tomatoes, broth and beans leftover.

    Of course, if that doesn’t work, your friends will be fans if you only make it when you have a group to serve and eat it all up at once!

  5. The Duo Dishes says on February 13 2009 at 2:38 pm:

    Looks good, sounds great. Delish! Love the new layout by the way. :)

  6. grace says on February 14 2009 at 11:30 am:

    kristin. this is all kinds of stupendous. nicely done.

  7. Whitney Merritt says on February 14 2009 at 5:12 pm:

    Sorry that this was a leftover dud. A frozen batch of leftover soup is usually a winner.

    Hope you are having a Happy Valentines Day with Kevin!

  8. Calypso says on February 15 2009 at 11:07 am:

    Thank you for this – I made it yesterday and it was wonderful!

  9. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on February 15 2009 at 8:19 pm:

    Matt: How did you like it?

    Anticiplate: Thank you! Good luck with your new site.

    AsianFoodGallery: Thanks!

    Lindsey: Freezing is an interesting idea. I’ll keep that in mind next time.

    The Duo Dishes: Thanks!

    grace: Awww, thanks!

    Whitney: Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day as well!

    Calypso: Great to hear! Thanks for reporting back.

  10. Matt says on February 16 2009 at 6:17 am:

    The soup was well received, but not quite as popular as your cheddar-buttermilk cornbread that I made to go along with it! I was missing the cilantro, which I think would have improved the taste of my batch.

    Most of all it inspired me to improvise my own soup, a turkey vegetable soup that turned out great!

  11. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on February 17 2009 at 1:45 pm:

    Matt: Oh, yes, I think the cilantro is important. But I’m so glad the cornbread was a hit!

  12. Angie says on February 28 2009 at 10:42 pm:

    I did almost the same thing last week, I had some celery, carrots and kale in the fridge, used an onion and some garlic from the pantry, had a box of chicken stock and can of diced tomatoes. I also threw in a can of chickpeas. I had parsley and fresh thyme so I put that in too, but I do love cilantro… This is the kind of soup my grandma would make to use up leftovers or lingering produce. I love not wasting things!

  13. Angela says on March 23 2009 at 3:41 pm:

    Yummmm! This was so delicious! I am a newlywed who is
    every-so-grateful to have found this wonderful website full of such great recipes! Thanks so much!!

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