Freezer Creation #1
After my “post-work” bike ride, I came home to the house hungry. What’s for dinner? I asked myself. I opened my freezer and found about 2.5 cups of frozen black beans, 1 cup of frozen sweet potato and 2 cups of homemade chicken broth. Perfect! A pureed black bean-sweet potato soup! I added one can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 chopped yellow onion, 4 garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, a touch of smoked paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Plus a little bit of water. And a tablespoon of sugar. I pureed it with my boyfriend’s new immersion blender and served it garnished with cilantro from my garden and local totopos from El Milagro.
I’m a big fan of preparing food ahead of time and then freezing it in individually wrapped bags. For example, I buy several pounds of dried black beans and cook them as opposed to buying canned beans which have more sodium and cost more money.
(To use dry beans: Pour dry beans in large soup pot. Pour boiling water over beans so that there is about 3 inches of water above the beans so they have room to expand. Soak overnight. The next day, throw out water [on plants], rinse and cover beans by about another 3 inches of water. Cook for one hour on medium heat or until beans are soft enough to be easily crushed by your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Discard water [on plants] and let beans cool. Individually package beans in amounts you need–I usually bag them by 2 cups each.)
I’m also a big fan of homemade chicken broth because it is infinitely healthier than what you can buy, even the low-sodium versions (which still have 25% or more of your daily sodium intake in one serving). Making your own broth is super easy and, like the beans, I make it ahead of time and bag it up to use for soups, cooking rice, braising veggies, etc.
I just happened to have the previously roasted and mashed sweet potatoes. I had made extra at one point and then froze it thinking it would be easy to use for yammy muffins. However, adding the sweet potato to the soup gave it more body and a hint of sweetness.