Monday, February 1, 2021

Updated Quick Black Bean Soup

This is an updated version of the recipe I posted 6 years ago. I’ve made enough changes to it that I wanted to share it again, as I like this version better. This is such a wonderful weeknight soup—it really does come together quickly. And it’s very satisfying.

The most noticeable change is that I now puree some of the soup. This makes it thicker, and I really like the texture. Since I don’t want the meat pureed, I now heat the kielbasa separately, tossing it in toward the end after some of the soup has been pureed. I’ve also added red bell pepper, which makes it a little sweeter. Most recently, I diced the kielbasa, instead of just slicing it into coins like I normally do. Another win! I thought the coins were always too large in comparison to the other ingredients.

I like this spicy, but not too spicy. I once tried making this with a full teaspoon of chipotle chili powder, and I thought it was too hot. Most recently, I used a half teaspoon—and then added just a little bit more (maybe 1/8 tsp more), and it was perfect.

Updated Quick Black Bean Soup

4 servings


  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (recommend using a large one)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Seasoned salt, to taste
  • 13 oz. turkey kielbasa (may use pork, ham or omit altogether), diced
  • 2 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed (may use 1 28-oz. can)
  • ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder (I use a heaping ½ tsp.—use more or less depending on desired heat level)
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth (may use vegetable broth)
  • 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. dry sherry
  • Sour cream or shredded cheese (optional)


1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Season with salt and sauté until the onions have softened and are starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally until it starts to lightly brown (last time I did this, it was too juicy to brown, but that was fine, as it’s already cooked, so it just needs to be heated).

3. To the soup pot, add the black beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, bay leaf, chicken broth, brown sugar and sherry. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

4. Partially puree the soup: Remove about half the soup (about 3 cups) and either 1) transfer to a blender or food processor and puree, or 2) transfer to an appropriate container and puree with an immersion blender. 

5. Add the kielbasa and pureed portion of the soup to the soup pot and stir to combine. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve (if desired topped with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of shredded cheese).

Monday, January 18, 2021

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Broth

Every Thanksgiving I read stories from food writers urging home cooks to save their leftover turkey carcasses to make homemade soup broth. Every year, after carefully picking the meat of my turkey breast bones, I dutifully put the carcass in a ziplock freezer bag and stick it in the freezer with the best of intentions.

And those best intentions generally lead me to discover said carcass in May or June, wanting more room for something else in the freezer, and tossing it into the trash. Sorry rich turkey broth--not that year.

So this winter, I was determined to actually use my turkey carcass. And I did. And the results were awesome. And not so time-consuming (especially in pandemic times when I'm home basically always--okay not just basically, like literally always).

Making the broth was not complicated. I added the turkey bones to a cast-iron Dutch oven with 8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth seasoned with some dried herbs, brought the mixture to a boil and simmered for about an hour. Then I discarded the carcass, strained out any remaining solids with my spider strainer, and allowed the mixture to cool before transferring to a container to store in fridge until the next day when I would be using it for chicken noodle soup.

And the chicken noodle soup was dynamite good! The broth was fantastic. I went with a very simple recipe, but it was absolutely delicious. 

If you're not up for making homemade broth, you could still make this with 8 cups of good chicken broth (something that's a little better seasoned than the low-sodium broth I used to start with). Or if you don't have your turkey carcass, you could find a good recipe online for homemade broth. I like to make mine with chicken wings sometimes. 

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Broth

Note: The soup should have 8 cups total of broth in it. Although I used 8 cups of store-bought chicken broth to make my soup broth, evaporation and the carcass soaking some up left me with 6 cups of homemade broth. So I added 2 additional cups of store-bought broth for the soup to have 8 cups total.

Broth (makes about 6 cups of broth):

  • Leftover turkey carcass (I use turkey breast bones)
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut or pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion (about 200g)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced (about 175g)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 100g)
  • Homemade broth from above (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use enough so that the homemade broth and the added broth total 8 cups)
  • 8 oz. dried egg noodles
Make the broth:
  1. Add the turkey carcass, 8 cups chicken broth, thyme and bay leaves to a Dutch oven or other large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for an hour. 
  2. Discard the turkey carcass, strain out any remaining solids and allow the broth to cool. Store in the fridge for up to a few days until ready to use (or freeze).
Make the soup:
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan or skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and season with garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper. After the chicken has browned on one side (about 5-6 minutes), flip over and brown the other side. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through (165-170 degrees F). Turn off the heat and remove chicken from pan.
  2. While the pan is still hot, add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Save this mixture.
  3. When the chicken has cooled a bit, transfer to a cutting board and chop into a fine dice.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should brown and some may stick to the bottom.
  5. Add 1 cup of broth to the pot, and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping a bit with a wooden spoon. Add the deglazing liquid from the pan the chicken was cooked in, the 6 cups of homemade broth, the diced cooked chicken. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the noodles, and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 8-10 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Adjust seasoning and serve in shallow bowls (to allow the soup to cool off quicker).