Yesterday was so nice. Today was…not. It was cold, blustery, and mostly cloudy. I stayed indoors and did laundry, perused old magazines and cookbooks, and made my grocery list for this week. This Thursday is Girls Night, and I’m hosting. We are dyeing Easter eggs using natural dyes and old ties. I’ve never dyed eggs this way, so it should be fun. I’ve also got to make something to eat for that night. Monkeybread is my staple, but I just made some yesterday, so I have decided that I am going to make homemade Twix-style tartlets. I don’t eat Twix because they have palm oil in them, and I’m on a palm oil boycott for ethically sustainable environmental reasons. More on this later. The good news is, I found a recipe for homemade Twix on a food blog that I check out on a fairly regular basis called The Brown-Eyed Baker. I’ll post my results later this week–fingers crossed it turns out.
Since it was a cold, blustery day, all I could think is, “I want soup for dinner.” We had a couple of bags of old, stale tortilla chips that needed to be used, and there is perhaps no better way to use them up than with this soup. The chips don’t have to be stale, of course, but it is a nice way to use them up because the chips soak up the soup juices and you are none the wiser whether or not the chips were stale prior to inundating them with soup. I also had some leftover fried potatoes with onions, red bell pepper, and garlic that I threw in the soup. That was nice because it saved me some time chopping veggies and it also saved me about 15 minutes cooking time. I didn’t have any canned black beans, so I soaked some dry beans and cooked them in the pressure cooker, along with the elk, to save on cooking time. Right now I must profess my love for my pressure cooker. Even though I soaked the black beans for about 4 hours in hot water, it would still take a loooooong time to cook them in boiling water on the stove. Enter the pressure cooker. You want cooked beans? How about 10 minutes or less? Yesssss, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.
I normally make this soup vegetarian, but Hubby was in the mood for meat. Since we still had a package of elk in the freezer, I decided to throw in some elk to (pardon the pun) “beef” up the soup. Not that it needs it in the least. This is a very hardy soup that Hubby requests on a frequent basis. And like all soup, he eats it by the bucketfuls.
Black Bean Tortilla Soup
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
6 cups water
1/2 lb. elk, beef, or other meat of choice, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon paste
1 tablespoon minced mild green chilis
1 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and minced (leave some seeds if you want a serious heat kick-in-the-pants)
1 cup diced potato
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced onion
2 14.5 oz. cans black beans (or 1 cup dried beans, cooked until soft)
2 14.5 oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, combine the rice and water. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, brown elk in oil in a skillet over medium heat, cooking until all sides are browned. Remove from heat. To rice add bouillon paste, green chilis, chipotle pepper, potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, and elk. Boil until rice and potatoes are softened, about 15-20 minutes. Add black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, corn, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, and cilantro. Continue cooking until corn is heated through. Remove from heat and serve over tortilla chips. Garnish with sour cream and shredded cheese.