One of the things that can easily overwhelm any well-meaning person is trying to plan a menu for a large gathering. I think we have all these expectations that we have to prepare so many main dishes, all the traditional sides, not to mention the 17 pies and cakes. Nope. Can't do it.


A couple of years ago, my mother and I made the executive decision that we would simplify our Christmas menu. Each family brought their favorite soup, and my mother prepared a few desserts, and a big batch of French bread. It was amazingly delicious, beautifully simple and well, no one went away disappointed or hungry.


This meant we could spend most of our day relaxing and enjoying being together rather than slaving over a hot stove all day (After all, we can just leave that for Thanksgiving)

So here’s a simple recipe that is delicious and quick to make.


Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion - diced
  • 1 red onion - diced
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 8 - cups water
  • 1 lb. cubed yellow potatoes
  • 2lb - sweet potato cubed
  • 2 1/2 TBS - better than bouillon (or use chicken stock above instead of water)
  • 2 - 15oz cans black beans
  • 2 - 15oz can of corn
  • 1/2 TBS (or more if you like it spicy) - chili powder
  • 2 tsp - cumin
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS - Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp - smoked paprika
  • Dried oregano- 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tsp - cornstarch
  • Salt & pepper to taste (after adding the "better than bouillon, I didn't need salt)

(Don't freak out! If all these spices overwhelm you, throw in a taco packet or 2!)

Directions

  • In a large stock pot, sauté the diced onions & garlic until translucent. You can sauté in the the oil of your choice...I just use a little water.
  • Add water and better than bouillon OR chicken stock
  • Add cubed potatoes and simmer until fork tender
  • I like to combine all my spices in a small bowl before adding them to the pot.
  • Add corn, beans & spices.
  • Simmer to let the flavors meld, about 30 mins
  • Top with avocado, cilantro, & kamut

A few notes...

  1. Yes you could skip the additional toppings, but please don't! They really bring together the whole dish.
  2. Kamut: I know you're saying no way, I've never heard of that! Kamut is an ancient grain I have recently discovered, and I am in love! It has a dense texture and really adds heartiness to this soup. Plus it's so good for you! It takes just a little forethought, soaking it overnight and then simmering for an hour or 2 the next day. The past few weeks, I've made a big batch on Sunday that we will eat all week. I encourage you to try it! But hey, If it sends you into a panic to try something new, you can always serve it with brown rice.

Happy Cooking,

Kelly