Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Soy Chorizo and Black Bean Soup

You know how a lot of people make resolutions or goals at the New Year, and they’re frequently related to losing weight? It makes sense. After gorging myself on treats and cookies and such from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I’m ready for a few lighter meals. What you might not know is in the year leading up to my wedding, I lost 20 pounds, primarily using Sparkpeople. Sparkpeople is a free website that taught me a lot of things about health and fitness. For example, did you know that exercising is not a free pass to eat anything and everything you want to eat? Because I didn’t. And did you know that a serving of cereal is about a third of a size that I thought one was? Anyway, I went from this in May of 2007:


To this at our wedding in June 2008:


But I’ve definitely gained the grad school 15 (hello stress-eating!), and I’d like to get rid of some of it before my ordination to the diaconate in June. I know that I’ll feel healthier, more confident, and that it will make me a better runner. So, I’ve started tracking my calories on Sparkpeople again, and I am doing a bang-up job with my diet eating plan. It’s also a good way for me to make sure I’m getting enough protein now that I’m not eating meat except for seafood. Another component of Operation Skinny Deacon is to stop boozing it up so much (i.e., drinking wine or beer every night with dinner plus some on weekends). That’s a good 5 pounds there plus it’s just a not-that-great habit to be in. I’m also re-training myself with regard to portion size. Do you know how SMALL a 4 oz glass of wine is?

Anyway, I still get to enjoy delicious dinners like tonight’s soy chorizo and black bean soup. Soy chorizo might be the main thing keeping me pescetarian. It’s pretty darn close to the real thing. I found mine at Trader Joe’s, and while it’s not low-calorie, it’s significantly less greasy than real chorizo. Even Joe went back for seconds of this and offered to take leftovers for lunch. It’s hearty and spicy and makes a bunch if you doubled the recipe like I did. And I enjoyed mine with some seltzer water with lemon, though beer would be a fitting accompaniment as well.


Soy Chorizo and Black Bean Soup
source: Cate’s World Kitchen
Yields 6 to 8 servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
12 ounces Soy Chorizo (or regular if you prefer)
6 cups black beans, rinsed and drained (about 4 cans)
4-5 cups vegetable broth
lime wedges and fresh chopped cilantro, for serving
crumbled feta or cotija cheese for serving

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and saute until soft. Add the chorizo, salt, and cumin and cook, stirring, another 5-6 minutes.
Stir in the beans and 4 cups of broth and simmer for about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, pulse a few times (so it’s partly but not completely pureed). Salt to taste, and add more broth if you’d like your soup a little thinner.
Serve with lime wedges, cheese, and fresh cilantro.