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A little soup with cooler weather would hit the spot

The cooler weather has returned for a little bit, which means I’m back in the kitchen stirring up some soup. I love a big steaming bowl of homemade comfort. There’s something about curling up with a bowl of soup that makes you feel like your being taken care of.

This week, I’m gonna give you a great black bean soup recipe along with some beautiful cornbread muffins. Now that’s comfort cooking!

Cornbread Muffins

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of fine cornmeal (regular will work but I like the fine) blue cornmeal is the best if you can find it

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbs baking powder

1 cup plus 2 tbs 1/2 and 1/2

1 egg

3 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled

butter for the muffin pans if not using cup liners

*makes 12

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then line or grease the muffin pans. Mix the fist five dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl beat together the next three dry ingredients. Then stir the wet into the dry, stirring with a spoon until combined. It’s OK to see the occasional lump. Pour the batter evenly into your 12 muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly brown on top. Brush the tops with a little melted butter just before serving.

Make the soup while the muffins are baking.

Black Bean Soup

6 cups of best canned black beans

1 26 oz. Container of beef stock or vegetable stock for the vegetarians

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tbs dark brown sugar

juice of 1/2 a fresh lime

1/2 lb crispy cooked apple wood bacon (optional) sour cream and white sharp cheddar for topping

Put the black beans, broth and brown sugar in a large boiler and bring to boil for a good 10 min. Take out 2 to 3 cups of the soup and put into the blender along with all the spices and the lime. Get it good and pureed and add it back to the soup along with the bacon if using. Let it cook on medium for about 5 to 10 more minutes and you’re done! Ladle the soup into the bowls and add the toppings as you like. Enjoy with the wonderful cornbread muffins. So comforting!

Until next time, have fun in the kitchen, experiment, and indulge your cravings.

Laura Clements is the pastry chef at Napoleon’s.