Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Course : Beans
Serves: 8
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3 cans black beans -- rinsed and drained, -- (15 1/2 ounce)
1 cup drained canned tomatoes -- chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup minced shallot
4 cloves garlic -- minced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree -- (16-ounce can)
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 pound cooked ham cut into 1/8-inch dice
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar -- (up to 4)
1 Cup sour cream -- for garnish
1 package lightly toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish -- coarsely chopped

Preparation / Directions:

In a food processor coarsely pure‚ beans and tomatoes. In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean pure‚. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. Makes about 9 cups.

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