Local & Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert: Super Bowl Soups!

vegetarian chili

Many of us love soup year round and winter is the prime time. Super Bowl is even a more prime time as you can have the meal in a bowl and offer lots of goodies for topping! Folks love adding their own goodies.

black bean soupFrancine’s Favorite Black Bean Soup with Toppings
Serves 4 to 6

A very good friend and savvy cook with a beautiful veggie garden says: “I only use organic vegetables if I can’t use the ones I grow.”

Note: An immersion blender is used once the soup cooks down so vegetable pieces dont have to be precise plus no need to clean a big blender.

  • 3 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 medium yellow onions sliced roughly
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks organic celery, diced
  • 2 organic carrots cut into one-inch chunks.
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted organic tomatoes
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans organic black beans
  • A little red wine if you like (the alcohol cooks off but wine warms the taste)
  • Kosher salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne, dash
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaf
  • Dry cilantro 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

Toppings to offer when serving:

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
  • Limes and lemons wedges
  • Spring onions, chopped
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Good quality salsa

Heat olive oil to medium heat. Sprinkle cumin into it and heat until the aroma comes up, about one minute. Add onions and sauté about two or three minutes. Add garlic and sauté about two minutes. Add celery and sauté about two minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, black beans, and stir all together. Add vegetable stock and remaining spices and allow to simmer, but not boil, for an hour, stirring occasionally. Do not let it stick. Add wine if desired.

Take off the heat and let soup rest for about 15 minutes and then put an immersion blender into the pot directly and blend to desired consistency, moving blender around carefully. Add salt, pepper and cilantro and put back on heat. Continue to simmer about 45 minutes. You may add a little water if you think it gets too thick and add some fresh lemon juice. Stir. Preferably, put in refrigerator when cool to flavor overnight.

Serve with a splash of lime in each bowl and place a lime slice in center of bowl. Let people select their options for toppings. Yummy with corn bread or hearty rough type of bread.

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6

As an extraordinary vegetarian chili containing sweet potatoes, black and pinto beans, peppers and cocoa powder, this is a delicious, hearty and healthy vegan meal. You won’t miss the meat.

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper
  • about 28-ounces canned diced tomatoes, including the liquid
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • about 2 cups OR one 14 oz. can vegetable broth

Garnishes: sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes (optional)

In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sauté the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) in one to two tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. You’ll need to stir the ingredients every few minutes so they can cook evenly.

Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper) and canned ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Cover and cook for 45 minutes up to two hours, stirring occasionally.

By the time your chili is done, the sweet potatoes should be nice and soft and the liquid should have reduced a bit. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.

With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.

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