I have been drawn to soups with spice and substance. For me, the task of toasting whole spices and then grinding them makes a meal feel even more homemade.
This recipe called for toasting the cumin and for that task I use my grandmother's cast iron skillet.
Adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen
2 tablespoons sunflower seed or olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile or minced chipotle in adobo, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus a little extra for garnish
Two 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans, preferably organic (I used these)
1 can coconut milk (about 15 ounces)
Juice of 1 to 2 limes, to taste
1. Heat the oil in a wide soup pot, then add the onion, cumin, chile, and cilantro and cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, lower the heat, and continue cooking until the onion is soft, about 12 minutes in all.
2. Pour in the beans plus their liquid, 2 1/2 cups water, and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Puree a cup or so of the beans and return it to the soup. Or puree all of the beans if you prefer a smooth soup. Season with salt and stir in the lime juice. Serve garnished with a pinch of chopped cilantro.