Cooking with Paprika: Black Bean Soup with Red Paprika Sauce

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Serves 8

This lovely soup can also be a vegetarian entrée. The colorful sauce features both paprika and fresh red peppers.

• 1 pound dried black beans
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 ribs celery, chopped
• 2 tablespoons sweet or semisweet ­Hungarian paprika
• 2 cups chopped tomatoes
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 8 cups water
• 1 cup corn kernels
• Red Paprika Sauce (below)
• 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1. Pick over and rinse the beans. Soak them overnight in water to cover, or bring the beans and water to a boil, cover, turn off the heat, and soak for 1 hour. Drain.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, celery, and paprika. Sauté 5 minutes, stirring. Add the beans, tomatoes, cumin, bay leaves, black pepper, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Add the corn and simmer 5 minutes, just until tender. Top with Red Paprika Sauce (below) and garnish with cilantro.

Red Paprika Sauce

• 1 pound red bell peppers (about 4 ­medium-sized), chopped
• 4 scallions, chopped
• 1 tablespoon sweet, semisweet, or hot ­Hungarian paprika
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1. Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until thick. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Judy Monroe is a St. Paul, Minnesota-based freelance writer on a variety of health- and food-­related topics. She has written fourteen books for children, teens, and adults, including three cookbooks.

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