Some of you may not have heard yet, but I had jaw surgery (technically, “orthognathic surgery”—now you can go find the Wikipedia article) over winter break. The surgery was to correct for a long-standing crossbite that had apparently gotten worse in the last few years.
Before anybody asks, I’m completely fine. I’ve been completely fine. I am not currently and at no point was in any pain.
However, I do still have an acryllic splint molded all the way around my upper teeth and running across the roof of my mouth to hold my teeth in place while the bone heals, which has left me unable to speak clearly. I’ve also been on a strictly no-chewing diet, up until next week (at which point I move on to a very-soft-foods-only diet). No chewing, in this case, means that, if I have to put it between my teeth and apply any pressure before I can swallow it, then I can’t eat it.
It is certainly better than, say, a liquids-only diet, but it still applies some pretty hefty restrictions to what I can eat. You have to chew more food than you realize. Even most soups don’t work on their own, because you usually chew down any pieces of vegetable or meat in them. So, for the last 3 weeks, my diet has been almost exclusively yogurt, mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes), soups (frequently after they’ve been run through a blender), and smoothies.
I was hoping that I would get a blog entry out of the soup I made tonight. Unfortunately, it was pretty lackluster. So instead I’ll fall back on one of my mom’s recipes, that’s probably the best food-that-wasn’t-intended-to-be-put-through-a-blender I’ve had since the surgery.
Black Bean Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup white onion, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
60 ounces canned black beans
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon concentrated liquid smoke (hickory)
cheddar/monterey jack, shredded
green onions, chopped
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium/low heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic to the oil and simmer slowly (or “sweat” as it’s called), for 15 minutes or until the onions are practically clear. Keep the heat low enough that the veggies don’t brown.
- While you cook the veggies, pour the canned beans into a strainer and rinse them under cold water.
- Measure 3 cups of the drained and strained beans into a food processor with 1 cup of chicken stock. Puree on high speed until smooth.
- When the veggies are ready, pour the pureed beans, the whole beans, the rest of the chicken stock, and every other ingredient in the list (down to liquid smoke), to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes or until soup has thickened and all the ingredients are tender. Serve the soup topped with a couple tablespoons of the cheese blend and a teaspoon or so of chopped green onion.
I can’t say how this is normally. After it’s run through the blender, the beans make it incredibly thick—a lot like refried beans, but black beans, so it’s tastier. Mom thought it looked a little questionable, but the thickness for me was a welcome contrast from a lot of the thinner soups I was living off of.
I have no idea whether Mom used the liquid smoke or not; it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing she’d keep around. I know she cooked it in a slow cooker instead of on the stove, but that may have mostly been because she just got the slow cooker and was excited. And I know she used more garlic than the recipe calls for—;my mom and I both assume that the garlic in a recipe should be at least doubled, if not quadrupled.
Of course, one of my favorite recipe sites (seriously, the photos are like food porn) posted her own Black Bean Soup recipe today. Another mother enjoying her new slow cooker, it seems. I’m intrigued by smitten kitchen’s abundance of bell peppers. I would love to do a side-by-side if I have a chance some time.
I have a few other recipes that have adapted well to my current situation, but are also quite good before they’ve been through a blender. I’ll probably post some of them over the next few weeks. But I’m also looking for ways to add more variety! Do you have ideas for food or other soups that either are already well pulverized or would still be good after they’re run through a blender?