Black Bean with Rice Soup
A recipe from the Sneaky Kitchen by Karen Danielson

3 cups cooked rice
2-16 oz. cans black beans and their liquid
1 envelope Ortega hot and spicy taco seasoning mix  (Note #1)
4 green onions and tops, chopped  (Note #2)
1 46-oz. can chicken broth
, de-fatted (Note #3)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  (Note #4)
salt
and black pepper to taste  (Note #5)

Place cooked rice, black beans with their liquid, the taco seasoning mix and the chopped green onions (Note #2) in a 6 quart Dutch oven, over low heat.  Start to add chicken broth
, about a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue in a like manner until the soup is of the desired consistency.

Season with salt,  black pepper and cumin to taste.  Continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Add more chicken broth as necessary to retain the thick soup-like consistency. As the soup heats, the rice tends to absorb the broth and it may become thicker than you like.   You may add as much chicken broth as you desire, to obtain a soup-like consistency.  

Since all the ingredients have already been cooked, you are basically just re-heating this, and as my friend Helen Errera is fond of saying, "allowing the flavors to marry".  The chopped green onion adds a nice little "crunch" to the soup, giving it yin and yang!

Karen Danielson, RN


Note #1:   Use mild Ortega taco seasoning mix if you prefer.

Note #2:   I stir some chopped green onion into the soup near the end of the cooking process, perhaps in the last 10 minutes.  I reserve some for garnish to sprinkle on the top of each bowl.  If you don't care for the intense onion taste and crunch, add all the green onion at the beginning of the heating process.

Note #3:  To de-fat broth, store the unopened cans in the refrigerator.  To use, open and discard any solid fat that has formed,  and proceed with recipe.  You will be amazed to see the amount of solid fat that forms on top.  To de-fat homemade broth, refrigerate overnight and then proceed as with the canned broth.  Remember, that solid fat you are discarding is the saturated fat that adheres to the walls of your veins and arteries, and can eventually lead to the occlusion (blockage) of those blood vessels!

                 You may substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth if you are a vegan.  The rice and beans combination gives you all the complete protein you need, without any meat. The rice and beans supply you with all your essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.

Note #4:     I also add a little more ground cumin to mine as I enjoy that particular taste.  Fresh cilantro is also another nice touch, one we're are not too familiar with here in the Eastern part of the U.S.  If using fresh cilantro, use it sparingly at first until you are sure you like the taste.  Avoid using too much as this herb has a tendency to dominate the flavors. 

Note #5:     Taste first before seasoning with salt and black pepper. The taco seasoning mix is pretty salty as well as spicy.