Black Bean Soup with Squash

This soup ultimately began as a means of using up some stuff in the fridge that was on the verge of going over the hill, but it turned out to be tasty and popular in the household. The large amount of onion makes everything very flavorful and the squash not only adds nutritional value and flavor, but does a nice job of thickening the soup.

The amounts are approximate (so if you have a little more or less of something, don’t be daunted, the basic formula will still work). If you can cook dry beans (and use them and their cooking water), great – otherwise canned will do fine.

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion (a sweet one if possible), chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 cups cooked black beans
- 8-12 cups stock, water or bean cooking water, preferably hot
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc.)
- 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

1) Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and cook (stirring with moderate frequency) for 10-15 minutes, until soft and translucent.

2) Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more.

3) Add the beans and the water/stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer (medium-low) and cook for 5 minutes.

4) Add the squash and stir, breaking up large chunks of squash if there are any. Add the salt and dried herbs and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

5) Remove from heat, let sit for 5-10 minutes (if you have time – it’ll allow the flavors to meld a little more), and taste for seasoning.

6) Add cilantro and serve. You can also reheat later – this soup also works well as a leftover.

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