Eat Naturally Gluten Free

Naturally Gluten FreeDo you have a gluten sensitivity or are you just curious about trying gluten free on for size?  There’s a brand new cookbook out by my friend Chef Olivia Dupin, a wonderful cook and graduate of the CIA.  After being diagnosed with Celiac she created a wide range of delicious recipes with naturally gluten free ingredients — no GF packaged good required!  Here’s a tasty sample for you, her delicious recipe for Cuban Black Bean Soup with Avocado Crema.

Cuban Black Bean Soup with Avocado Crema

Black bean soup is one of my favorite wintertime meals because it’s warm, filling, and comforting. Don’t skip the avocado crema! It is made with only three ingredients, but the zesty avocado and citrus combination takes this soup to the next level of deliciousness.

For soup:
4 slices bacon, diced
1⁄2 pound (225 g) pork butt or loin,
Diced into 1⁄2-inch (1.3-cm) cubes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
5 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 medium white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
4 cups (940 ml) water
4 cups (940 ml) chicken stock
2 cups (500 g) dried black beans,
Picked through and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice

For avocado crema:
1⁄2 medium avocado
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) Mexican crema or sour
1 teaspoon lime zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional extras:
8 lime wedges, for garnish
8 corn tortillas, warmed, for serving

To make the soup: Heat a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-high heat. Sauté the bacon and pork until golden brown and the bacon fat is rendered.

Decrease the heat to medium-low, then add the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook until the mixture is fragrant and the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the water, chicken stock, and black beans to the pot. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until the soup begins to gently boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 21⁄2 to 3 hours, until the beans are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Transfer about half of the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend on high speed, until smooth and creamy. Add the puréed soup back to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the lime juice.

To make the avocado crema: Place the avocado, sour cream, lime zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a mini food processor. Process for 20 to 30 seconds, or until smooth and creamy.

Serve the soup with a dollop of the crema and a wedge of lime. Warm corn tortillas make this a complete, hearty meal.

YIELD: 8 SERVINGS

chef´s tip Proper flavor balance will set your cooking apart. Seasoning with salt and pepper is key, but don’t forget about acidity, too. A squeeze of lime in this dish brightens the rich soup and makes the flavors pop.

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