carrot-fennel soup with crispy black beans

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How much does justice weigh? 

After all that’s happened in Boston, I’ve been overhearing, nervous talk, that it’s something heavy, like a full fist.

I can see how truth, might sometimes be (heavy) on the ears, piling our arms, crossed, with things we (sometimes) don’t want to hear, but justice, too? Even when our hearts are already heaped high to their strings and heaving with heavy? Can’t this thing, justice, be made to lift toppled things that have fallen to the bottom?

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Does justice really come crashing, heavy, from above, because I always hoped it bloomed beneath our feet (where the spring is), in the tufts between the cracks, in the same way that shiny sun breaks through winter with new life.

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I see justice full of lightness and nimble ‘nough to carry hope on its shoulders until the ground stops shaking, until its knees are bleeding, because hope is a thing that must at all costs outlive the darkest of fears, isn’t it?

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So, here’s a soup of a kind of lightness.

I’ve saved a bowl for that eight-year-old, Martin Richard’s Mom and Dad and little sister, Jane.

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 After back-to-back muffins and more muffins, I must say, I’ve been feeling a bit guilty. At times it seems there aren’t enough hours in a day to handle all of that flour. Sometimes the only way to detox is with a big pot of carrot soup of the brightest orange.

As much as I love the smoothness of this soup as written, I’ve also included some crispy black beans and toasted sesame seeds that have been tossed in olive oil, cumin and spicy cayenne and then roasted for a bit more crunch and texture.

I’ve dialed up the coriander a touch and added a bit of cumin and a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat. While you can use water as your base, I find swapping it out for stock provides even more flavor and a bit more depth.

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For soup (Loosely adapted from Jennie Perillo’s Homemade with Love):

  • 1 lb  carrots, chopped in 1/4″ medallions
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, quartered
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For black bean topping:

  • 1/2 cup from one 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Heat olive oil in a pot and add carrots, fennel, onion and smashed garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stirring occasionally until fragrant. Add orange zest, fresh thyme, coriander, cumin and red pepper flakes. Continue to stir and add about 1 cup of stock. Bring to boil and stir to lift any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, prepare black beans, tossing them in a small bowl with olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Smooth in a single layer on lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp, some beans with be blistered and popped open.

Pour tender soup chunks into a blender or food processor in batches as needed and pulse until smooth. Return to heat, adding in additional stock until soup has reached desired consistency. (I used about 2 1/2 cups).

Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle with crispy black beans, toasted sesame seeds and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Serve hot.

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2 thoughts on “carrot-fennel soup with crispy black beans

  1. A gorgeous recipe from a gorgeous new cook indeed. I always make carrot soup but would rarely think to add black beans. It’s not an ingredient which is common in Australia but I think I need to get out there and find some pronto!

    Looks beautiful :)

    • @girlinafoodfrenzy: sad to learn that black beans are so underrepresented in Australia.. But you know what? Crispy anykindofbean topping in soup is a new favorite for me. If you can’t get your hands on black beans and there’s another you like, go forth!

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