Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup with Peanuts & Lime

Give me a big bunch of vegetables, some softened onions, a good broth, maybe a few beans and baby, I got a stew going. Or more likely, a creamy soup. (I love my immersion blender, what can I say?)

This time it’s a pumpkin-y take on black bean soup, inspired by a ridiculously enormous kabocha pumpkin and a couple jars of slow-cooker black beans I made last week. The pumpkin and half the beans are simmered together and pureed until smooth before the other half of the beans are added, whole, for texture. I wanted to do something different from the usual cumin-chipotle-chili-powder black bean soup, so I incorporated some of the Thai garnishes I had lying around from Friday’s dinner of khao soi.

Lime juice and cilantro aren’t crazy-weird in the context of black bean soup, but it was the roasted, chopped peanuts sprinkled on top that turned out to be key — they add a texture and flavor that makes this soup a little different from the one you used to eat at Souplantation. (Hey, we’ve all done it.)

And since I’m back in school this week, I’ve packed up the leftovers in jars, to be frozen for future dinners. Because as you may know, the only thing I like better than getting my soup on is getting my soup on when I’m too busy to actually make a soup.

Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup with Peanuts & Lime

Yield: About 2 quarts

{ Ingredients }

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups kabocha pumpkin (about 1.5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in ½-inch cubes (see Notes)
2 15-ounce cans black beans (or 2 pints cooked black beans), drained, divided
3-4 cups vegetable stock, divided
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon light yellow miso

For serving
Lime wedges
Cilantro leaves
Roasted and salted peanuts, chopped

{ Directions }

Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the pumpkin, half of the black beans, 3 cups stock and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until pumpkin is very soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth with an immersion blender, or in batches with a countertop blender.

Place pot over medium-high heat. Add reserved beans, chopped cilantro and additional water, if needed, until soup is desired consistency. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together miso paste and a ladleful of soup until very smooth. Add miso mixture and lime juice to the soup. Stir and taste, adding salt or additional lime juice as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro and chopped, with extra lime wedges on the side.

• If you make your beans from scratch, save the cooking liquid to use in place of some of the stock.

• I used about half of my giant pumpkin for this soup. I weighed the pumpkin after it was peeled and seeded, so I think a 2-pound whole pumpkin would be about the right size for this recipe.

• You can use other types of hard, orange-fleshed winter squash in place of the kabocha pumpkin, such as red kuri, butternut or calabaza.