Friday, February 24, 2012

Meatless Fridays, here we come!

Today's Gospel Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."

And so the bridegroom (Christ) has been taken away from us and we are fasting. Its Friday, and in our family we fast from meat. I wish we had more fish 'n chips on Fridays but everyone else in my family does not like fish! Historically, fish was the "poor man's" meal and that is where the tradition of abstaining from meat and eating fish came from. So that we can relate more with the poor. Edited to add that Friday, being the day Jesus died, is not a time for feasting, and to abstain from meat (a rich man's feast) was a way to acknowledge in a small way the cost of our salvation.

Instead of fish then, we are having one of my all-time favorites:  Black bean soup (courtesy of Rachel Ray's Express Lane Meals) with foccacia bread.  I follow the recipe but don't usually do the shrimp part.

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Limed Up Shrimp
5 Tbsp EVOO
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbps chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt & black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Zest & juice of 2 limes
1/4 Cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, & butterflied
2 14 oz cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
5 Cups chicken stock
1/2 Cup heavy cream (optional)
Hot Sauce, to taste
Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 Tbps of the EVOO (twice around the pan). Add the onions, three fourths of the garlic, the chili powder, cumin, salt, & pepper. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are tender, stirring frequently.
While the onions are cooking, in a shallow dish combine the remaining garlic, the remaining 3 Tbps of EVOO, the red pepper flakes, lime zest, parsley, & a little salt. Add the shrimp and coat them thoroughly in the mixture. Let the shrimp sit while you move forward with the spicy black bean soup.
Add the black beans to the skillet with the onions. With a potato masher or the back of a rubber spatula, smash the equivalent of half of the beans – the mashed-up beans will thicken the soup. Add the fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, and heavy cream (if using) to the pot, stir, and turn the heat up a bit to bring the soup to a bubble. Once at a bubble, turn the heat back down to a simmer and let it cook for 10-12 minutes. Give the pot a stir every now & then to ensure that it’s not sticking.
While the soup is simmering, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the shrimp & cook them for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip the shrimp, add the lime juice, and continue to cook them for 2-3 more minutes or until the shrimp are opaque.
Taste the soup & adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, & hot sauce. To serve it, place a few ladles full of the spicy black bean soup in shallow soup bowls, and arrange 4 shrimp standing up in the center of each bowl.

*We all modify recipes to some degree, and for this one I add an extra can of black beans.  I also haven't sought out the fire-roasted tomatoes so just use regular.  For seasoning I like to play with a little liquid smoke in addition to the above, and we generally avoid the hot sauce.

Black bean soup with a dollop of sour cream.  Served with foccacia bread and oil/vinegar to dip.


  1. This looks super yum! I like the idea of crushing the beans, as it might make the soup more popular around here if the beans are hidden. What the heck is EVOO?

  2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
    I forgot to mention I do pulse it all in the blender in a few batches, to make it more uniform and less chunky. Cause my kids probably wouldn't eat the tomato chunks.


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