Simply Satisfying – cooking with coffee

Have you ever cooked with coffee?
I’m not talking about coffee cake which doesn’t even have coffee in it –  it just tastes better when you have it while dunking it into drinking a cup.  With all that coffee has going for it (which in moderation helps to improve cognitive performance, enhance alertness, boost your overall mood and is a rich source of antioxidants) why limit it to only a mug? Cooking with your favorite ground or brewed coffee can bring a whole new dimension to your recipe repertoire.  Coffee can enhance the flavor of other ingredients (like in homemade barbeque sauce) while lending a subtle earthy undertone to a dish. 

Here’s a healthy & hearty soup for a perfect cold weather lunch or light dinner paired with salad.

From Alive Magazine
From Alive Magazine

Cowboy Black Bean Soup

1 lb. (450g) dried black beans (about 2 cups/500 mL)
1 Tbsp (15mL) Coconut Oil
1 cup (250mL) diced onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced across the stalk
½ cup (125mL) carrot, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp (10mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5mL) smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
4 cups (1L) water
2 cups (500mL) brewed coffee
2 cups (500mL) butternut squash, cut into ½ in (1.25cm) cubes
½ tsp (2mL) salt
2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 Tbsp (90mL) reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup (60mL) fresh cilantro leaves

Pick over beans, making sure to discard any stones or broken beans.  Rinse well, place in large bowl or container, and cover with 2 in (5cm) cold water.  Let beans soak overnight.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add onion, pepper, celery, carrot, jalapeño and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.  Stir in cumin, smoked paprika, and bay leaf, cooking for another minute.  Pour in water and coffee.

Drain beans, rinse well, and stir into soup base.  Turn heat up to high and bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that accumulates on surface.  Cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, steam squash until just cooked, about 5 minutes.

Once beans are cooked, remove pot from heat.  Remove bay leaf from soup and stir in salt.  Purée about half the soup in blender until smooth. Return purée  to pot and stir until incorporated.

When ready to serve, warm soup gently over medium heat, stirring often, until warm.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cooked squash, a sprinkle of green onion, a dollop of sour cream, and a few torn cilantro leaves.

Serves 6.  Each serving contains 329 calories.

Do you have a favorite coffee recipe you’d like to share?

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