Yin and Yang of Southwest Soups

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It can be subtle, those dualities between light and dark, hot and cold, sweet and savory. In our food, the yin yang of flavors compliment and enhance as our spoon reaches in, breathing in the wafting aromas.  Then, the bite passes over our tongues, lingering.   Does it rest on the back part, warm and savory, or dance on the front sweetly enticing more?

They say we cannot appreciate the light without the dark, yet our lives are filled with shades of grey. Do we take the time to recognize the ebb and flow of the energies, the intentions and the whole? Or does the richness possible just pass us by.  In a blink, a gulp or fast paced daze does recognizing the balance and the possibilities become lost on us? Or, we do we focus on the one side, narrowly without appreciation of the other.

Sometimes I just need to take a minute.

Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime.

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime. – Wikipedia

This pairing of soups is distinguished by the peppers that form the basis of the heat. New Mexico Chiles — fresh, green and cool mingle with the sweet creamy corn. Hot, red firey cayennes and manly bacon flavor the black, savory beans. My watchword was viscocity. How to balance the yin yang in texture and thickness so one does not bleed into the other but bring the experience together as a whole.

If we can taste the nuances of just soup, can we begin to appreciate more of our lives? Hmmm.

Yin and Yang of Southwest Soups
Black Bean and Bacon Soup paired with Creamy Mexicorn Chowder

Yin and Yang of Southwest Soups
Black Bean and Bacon Soup paired with Creamy Mexicorn Chowder

Serves 4 for a meal, serves 8 for appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


Black Bean and Bacon Soup
½ pound low salt bacon cut into ½” x 1” pieces
½ large yellow onion diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 red chile peppers, chopped (cayenne, ripe Serrano or inferno, pick your favorite warm, hot pepper to taste )
1 15 oz can Black Beans, rinsed
1 14.5 oz can Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon roasted cumin
½ teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions
Over medium high heat, fry up bacon until crispy in bottom of heavy bottomed 4 qt pot. Remove and drain on paper towel. Drain bacon fat from pot, reserving about 1 tablespoon. Lower heat to medium and saute onion and red chiles for about 5 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes with juices, chili powders and bring to a low bubble. Simmer 10 minutes, take off heat. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor with ½ of the rinsed black beans. Return mixture to pot adding in rest of beans, roasted ground cumin and liquid smoke. Simmer for another 15 minutes over low heat or until you are ready to serve, soup should be fairly thick.  Add in crispy bacon just before serving.


Creamy Mexicorn Chowder
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large yellow onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
1 green New Mexico Chili Pepper, chopped
2 ears Sweet Corn, kernels removed
1 11 oz can Mexicorn Niblets, drained
1 14.5 oz Creamed Corn
1 teaspoons Chicken Stock Base
2 cups Water
2 tablespoons Flour
½ cup Milk
1 tablespoon Honey

Directions
Over medium heat, saute onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft, add green chili pepper and fresh corn kernels. Lower heat and continue to cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so vegetables don’t burn. Combine 2 cups hot water and chicken stock base in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve thoroughly. Add this broth, canned mexicorn, and creamed corn, continue cooking for 10 minutes. Puree half the soup mixture in blender or food processor and return to pot. Make a slurry of flour and milk, whisking to remove all lumps. Add to soup, stir to blend and bring up heat to medium and a low boil, then lower heat. This will thicken the soup. Add honey 5 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Tips
I did the vegetable prep for both soups at the same time as well as the sauteing in separate pots. This allowed me to shorten the cooking time and serve together. This combination of soups is all about matching the viscosity and ability to serve both in one bowl.

Yin Yang Symbol  by Klern


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5 Responses to Yin and Yang of Southwest Soups

  1. Bentobird says:

    What a beautiful and philosophical post, I love the creative nuance you bring to the art of food…hope you are having a great time in Tuscany (sigh)!

  2. Lyndsey says:

    I love it! Beautiful photo, lovely soup, and deep thoughts. Nothing more to add except it does make you think! Hmmm…

  3. Robin says:

    Thank you Jenn and Lyndsey! I so appreciate your support and thoughtful comments.

    Hope you are staying warm.

  4. What a glorious combination of flavors, colors, and textures Robin! You are brilliant and I absolutely LOVE the way you write and weave a story!!

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