Black Bean Soup and Quesadillas

Tri-City HeraldFebruary 1, 2014 

FOOD FOODFAST TB

Mexican flavors spark soup-and-sandwich duo, with an earthy bean soup and, standing in for the sandwich, a spicy cheese and roasted poblano quesadilla. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

BILL HOGAN — MCT

The cover of the Food & Wine section Feb. 5 will feature Olympics: A fine excuse to explore Russian food. Inside you'll find more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects. For past food stories and recipes go to www.tri-cityherald.com/food-wine. A grilled cheese sandwich paired with a bowl of hot soup is such an iconic meal that it follows us from childhood into adulthood.

As grown-ups, though, we might opt for more complex flavors than a simple tomato and cheddar combo. This version leans to Mexico, with an earthy bean soup and, standing in for the sandwich, a spicy cheese and roasted poblano quesadilla. Yet at its heart, the meal remains that long-remembered duo, which is comforting and, bonus, super-easy to pull together.

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BLACK BEAN SOUP AND QUESADILLAS

Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 20 minutes Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 strips bacon, diced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 can (29 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (or other oregano)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Crema or sour cream
1 lime, quartered

QUESADILLAS: 4 flour tortillas, 6 inches in diameter
1 cup or more grated Chihuahua cheese, or other good melting cheese
2 poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, cut in thin strips

Directions

Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add the onion and red pepper to the pan; cook in the bacon fat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, chicken broth and oregano; heat over medium-low until soup is hot, about 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon.

Meanwhile, place 2 tortillas on a flat surface; sprinkle with the cheese. Divide poblanos over the tops. Cover with remaining 2 tortillas. Cook in a skillet or on a griddle over medium heat, flipping once, until the cheese melts and tortillas brown slightly, about 2 minutes per side. Cut each quesadilla in quarters.

Divide the soup among 4 serving bowls; top with the cilantro and a dollop of crema or sour cream. Serve with the quesadillas alongside, passing the lime quarters for squirting into the soup.

Nutrition information per serving: 432 calories, 14 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 53 g carbohydrates, 24 g protein, 1,245 mg sodium, 12 g fiber From: The Chicago Tribune

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