Smokey Black Bean Soup

The deep red-brown of this soup makes it a color cousin to Mexican molé sauce. It makes a dramatic presentation when topped with tortilla strips or guacamole. Chipotle chilies packed in Adobo sauce are available in most large supermarkets. Any canned, diced tomatoes will work well, but the fire-roasted variety sends this soup over the top.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped, (1 cup)
2 stalk celery, chopped,
2 carrots, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, remove seeds by rinsing it
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 cups vegetable broth mixed with 2 cups water
3 (19 ounce each) cans black beans, drained
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, preferably fire-roasted

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery, carrots, red pepper and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with cumin; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth with water. Mix in beans and tomatoes.

Transfer 1/2 of the soup to blender along with the chipotle chili puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture back into remaining soup. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Top with freshly grated pepper before serving. Serves 6