Sometimes you just want soup. And sometimes you really need it! The weather has been very cold, we had the first snowfall of the season, and this really lends itself to needing soup. Since it was snowing like crazy, and I really did not have much of an appetite to drive in the snow I had to make do with what was already in the house.
This soup is quite a hodgepodge of ingredients, but it worked. Not only did it taste good it warmed me up, too!
Black Bean, Mushroom and Arugula Soup
2 cups black beans, soaked overnight (or you can use the quick soak method)
6 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
10 shitake mushroom caps, sliced or rough chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
3 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme. chopped
3 or 4 large handfuls of arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the soaked beans in a stock pot and add the vegetable stock and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat an then turn the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for two hours.
Once beans are cooked add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot and celery and allow to cook until starting to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion, cook for another few minutes and then add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Allow to cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and become tender. Add to the stock pot.
Cover and allow to simmer over low heat for at least an hour. In the last fifteen minutes or so add the arugula and allow to wilt. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve warm with crackers crumbled over the top (if desired).
Note: remove the bay leaves before serving.