Saturday, March 1, 2014

Black Bean Soup…with BACON! And Jalapeño & Cheddar Corn Muffins

 

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This is my absolute FAVORITE soup ever.

Ever ever.

I saw it on Dave Lieberman’s Food Network show several years ago…and it is so easy. And back then, easy was how I rolled. It is so darn good, in fact, I make it according to the recipe…exactly. The only thing I have done differently is find the healthiest version of each ingredient. Once you see the players, you will understand the need to seek out quality.

First things first…here is the link to the recipe.

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And here is how I make it as chemical free and nutritious as possible.

Since traditional store bought bacon is HORRIBLE for your health, I use bacon that is local and uncured (free of nitrates and preservative). I purchased ours through our CSA, where I know that the animals are happy, and fed the proper diet of non-GMO and organic food.  If you do not have access to local, uncured bacon look for organic bacon in the grocery or health food store.

Here is where you have a couple of choices…you can use canned black beans (cuz they are quick and easy), but make sure that the can is BPA free. I LOVE Eden Organics beans. Or…you could make your own black beans. Which is easy, just time consuming.

The one thing I am bad about is the Worcestershire sauce. I have yet to find an organic Worcestershire sauce. And there is no way I would leave it out. It makes the soup! I did, however, find a fairly simple recipe for homemade…but I have not had the time to try it out. Next time for sure! The other ingredient that is controversial is the ketchup. Organic is very easy to find, but many complain about how processed it is. But again, the ketchup is necessary in this recipe. And…a little ketchup ain’t gonna kill ya Winking smile

As far as the tomatoes go, we can our own, so I usually opt for a pint of those. But…since our tomatoes were puny this year, and we didn’t get to can very many…I found some diced tomatoes at the store. They are in a BPA free carton. BPA free linings are so important for foods like tomatoes, which are highly acidic, because they leach more BPA from the can.

My final healthifying touch to this soup is frozen homemade chicken stock. DO NOT EVER use a canned broth!!!!! (Unless it is home canned, of course) They are full of sodium, preservatives, BPA and “natural” flavorings. Crap. If you do not make your own stock or broth, replace it with 2 cups of water. You won’t notice the difference. Just add a little extra sea salt and pepper for added seasoning.

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I use a full pound of bacon in my soup, not 10 slices. Everything is better with more bacon!

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We top ours with sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, and a little cilantro. I use grass fed versions of both sour cream and cheddar cheese. The Rumiano grass fed organic cheeses are awesome!!

Next up…the corn muffins.

Lily helped with these. Except for chopping the jalapeños…which again burned the living crap out of my hands. I swear my husband grew the hottest peppers on the planet this year. They burned right through my rubber gloves!

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Here is my recipes for these yummies…

1 cup organic non-GMO cornmeal

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup organic sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup organic canola or olive oil

1 cup butter milk (or 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with enough whole milk added to make 1 cup)

1/3 cup diced jalapeño pepper

2-3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a standard size muffin pan with 12 wrappers.

Add the dry ingredients to a medium size bowl, and stir until well combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and buttermilk.

Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture, and add the buttermilk mixture.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry, until just incorporated. Some lumps will remain,

Add the jalapeños and cheddar. Fold gently, until evenly distributed.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.

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This is the perfect meal for a chilly fall day! It would be especially wonderful while parked in front of a football game.

Jessie

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