Despite having a big smile and loving to talk, I’m an introvert. I do better in small groups than at large parties. I love a long conversation over coffee with just you. I hate, hate, hate rooms of people where I don’t know anyone. (But I’ll still come to your party. I’m an introvert, not a hermit.)
Chalk it up to that introversion: from each phase of my life, I’ve been blessed with an amazing friendship or two. These are the people who saw me go from being a teenager to an adult. They are the ones who know that I get bossy when I’m hungry, and they shove food in my face instead of getting offended. They are the ones with whom a 3-hour conversation is possible even if we haven’t spoken for months. They are the ones with whom an awesome visit can be nothing more than sitting around in sweat pants for a weekend with a cup of coffee. They are the ones I don’t feel like I have to impress, and who impress me every day. They are the ones who share all my best memories.
At our wedding, I learned something new: my bestie-bestersons from the last 20 years get along really well. My bridesmaids – Apryl, Becca, Kirsten and Lisa – spent the weekend zipping around in Lisa’s lime green Ford Fiesta with the windows rolled down, shouting “Fiesta!” in the 90-degree Indiana heat. They traipsed through flood-plain mud in snazzy heels and jungle temperatures just so I could get the photo I wanted. And now, post-wedding, when they have no reason to keep in touch, they’re on Facebook keeping up with each others’ children and careers, and generally keeping the fiesta rocking.
Oh, and taunting each other with pumpkin recipes and ideas.
This phenomenon makes me darn happy.
And so, my contribution to the Pumpkin Taunting: this pumpkin black bean soup. It’s deep and rich for fall, with the pumpkin sweetening up hearty spiced beans. It’s easy – only two things to chop! – and takes advantage of canned goods you might already have on hand. And for my girls, it has some Mexican FIESTA! flavors.
If you want this, you might also like…
- Black bean soup, in case you don’t have pumpkin on hand.
- Pumpkin rigatoni, in case you have a lot of pumpkin on hand.
- Pumpkin scones with maple glaze, in case you want a pumpkin dessert instead.
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
A Burghilicious Original
If you have an actual pumpkin on hand instead of canned, roast it up (as in this squash soup recipe), then scoop the cooked pumpkin into the broth. You can add more heat with Tabasco or jalapenos if you so desire, but I kept it pretty mild this time around. Like most bean soups, it stores beautifully, but the beans might absorb the broth in the fridge. Just add some water if this happens.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (or whatever chili powder you have, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock
3 15-ounce cans black beans
1 14-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pie filling!)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Optional garnishes: diced fresh tomato, sour cream, shredded cheddar, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, tortilla chips, whatever!
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the onions until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper and stir until the onions are coated and the spices are fragrant, about one minute. Add the garlic and stir until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, beans, pumpkin and tomatoes. Bring to a bowl and simmer 15 minutes.
If you like a smoother soup as I do: in a blender, purée about half of the soup (in batches if necessary) and add it back to the un-blended soup. Target tomato and onion chunks as you are ladling soup into the blender.
Serve with any of the optional garnishes, or none – it’s good either way.