Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles

Why this recipe works:

For a black bean soup recipe that would produce an attractive, dark-colored soup full of sweet, spicy, smoky flavors, we went with dried beans, which release flavor into the broth as they cook, unlike canned beans. Furthermore, they proved to be a time saver: We discovered that it was… read more

For a black bean soup recipe that would produce an attractive, dark-colored soup full of sweet, spicy, smoky flavors, we went with dried beans, which release flavor into the broth as they cook, unlike canned beans. Furthermore, they proved to be a time saver: We discovered that it was unnecessary to soak them overnight or to use the "quick soak method" to make them tender. We also found that we didn't need from-scratch stock for our black bean soup recipe; we maximized flavor by using a mixture of water and canned chicken broth enhanced with ham and seasonings.

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Makes about 9 Cups, Serving 6

Dried beans tend to cook unevenly, so be sure to taste several beans to determine their doneness in step 1. For efficiency, you can prepare the soup ingredients while the beans simmer and the garnishes while the soup simmers. Though you do not need to offer all of the garnishes listed below, do choose at least a couple; garnishes are essential for this soup as they add not only flavor but texture and color as well. Leftover soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days; reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, stirring in additional chicken broth if it has thickened beyond your liking. The addition of chipotle chiles in adobo--smoked jalapeños packed in a seasoned tomato-vinegar sauce--makes this a spicier, smokier variation on Black Bean Soup.

Ingredients

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