In case (pun intended) you haven’t noticed, the mighty trifecta of Provo/Orem grocery stores are just about done wrapping up their most recent episode of everyone’s favorite shopping steal: the case lot sale. If you were brave enough to battle the even-more-so crowded parking lots, play bumper carts with half the county, and stand in lines that make a summer holiday at Disneyland seem not so bad after all, you have found yourself with a pantry full of food that you may not know what to do with.
I am just like you — I don’t know why I needed 36 cans of corn, but for savings of 30 cents or more per can, well, someone grab me an extra cart. And now here we are, staring at a cupboard full of canned goods, wondering why you just dropped half of next month’s rent on food you aren’t even sure if you like. Don’t worry. In case of a local disaster, you will be everyone’s new favorite neighbor. But rather than letting your case lot investment turn into paperweights or bed risers, there are plenty of delicious meals that require nothing more than a few of these canned commodities.
Recently my wife picked up two flats of black beans from a local case lot sale. Most commonly used in Latin cooking, these beans pack both a lot of flavor and a lot of nutrients in a humble, oblong body. These low-fat legumes boast high fiber and protein, making them ideal candidates for the leading role in any meal. Many veggie burgers use black beans for bulk and a rich, earthy flavor. They can be used as filler in quesadillas (do this with some spinach, you won’t be sorry), burritos, salsas, or mixed in with rice for a simple, yet filling meal.
We chose to cast our black beans in a savory, yet beyond-simple soup. With only three (not a typo, really) ingredients, this black bean soup carries enough heat to get you through another Utah winter, but satisfies the body and soul’s hunger for real flavor. And with two of the ingredients highlighted in recent grab-as-much-as-you-can sales, it could be an easy and inexpensive way to check off a culinary conquering: the canned bean.
Keep eating, friends.
Black Bean Soup
1 cup salsa (choose your favorite)
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can fat-free chicken broth
Warm salsa in a saucepan for a few minutes. Add beans and broth and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cool slightly. Put half of the mixture into a food processor or blender to puree. Return to the pan and heat through.
You can garnish with sour cream or more salsa.
Keith Bond is a food correspondent for Rhombus. This is his first article for the magazine.
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