So, those of you acquainted with us in person know that Z and I are among the most subterranean sub-culture people out there. As a testament to this, we have started cooking all kinds of hot soups right when the weather is heating up. Take that you 'normal' cuisinies.
So yeah, Z cooked us another new soup tonight! For those of you thinking, 'gee whiz mwr, Z does an awful lot of cooking for you,' I will say this: thanks for paying attention to my posts.
Anyway, Z and I went through a bunch of soup recipes and picked out ones that sounded interesting, were quick to make, and that pleased the ever credulous internet message boards, and we came up with a list of things to try. This one made the list because it was a black bean soup with feta (though the feta ended up playing a smallish part in the overall soup experience).
As far as evaluation goes, this soup is ALL about the garnish. I started mine cautiously with minimal raw jalapeno and inadequate ciantro. It was okay. The blending gave it a texture thick enough to feel while you ate it without feeling like you're eating hot bean-dip. The carrots and onions, whenever they crept up, added as nice bit of variety to the taste without 'showing off.' I was happy with it.
However, when I added more raw fresh green things and it improved vastly! The jalapeno quickly spread throughout and gave a very mild kick that didn't mask any of the other flavors. The real treat, though, was the cilantro. Now, I am not one of these people born with the alleged cilantro tastes like fetid chum gene, but I do think that it's a bit of a prima donna in most dishes--either demanding to be the star of the dish or fading away into the untastable. I generally try to stay away from it. In this case, though, it remained subtle while still retaining its presence in the dish. This increase in garnish moved this from a sort of standard black bean soup that I wouldn't want to call a standby due to it's lack of corn to a noteworthy and above average treat.
This brings me to another thing worth mentioning: the soup had only one dry spice in it: cumin. Now, sure, some of you read this and think "okay mwr. I get what's going on and don't trust anything you have to say about this soup anymore." You're probably not entirely mistaken in your dismissivness as since the cumin is an obvious presence that I think adds a lot. Still, just one dry spice. That is impressive! I think I am going to try to reduce the number of spices I use while cooking and up the fresh herbs, garnishes, and other things. This should be extra fun since I just tried reducing the sauces I used for in order to focus on dry spices. That turned out to be a blast and helped me make better sauces.
One last note: it didn't make an awful low, so if you're going to make it for guests be sure to increase the quantity or have a hearty side.