There's nothing more warming and comforting on a chilly winter evening – or a kicked-back Super Bowl Sunday – than a soulful black bean soup with a gentle zip of chile.
I like to roast the soup's aromatic vegetables instead of sautéing them; roasting deepens and intensifies their flavor – so much that if you wanted to leave out the ham hock and go vegetarian/vegan, the roasted veg will carry the day. Grinding toasted spices – coriander and cumin – fills the house with a wonderful scent.
There's hardly any work involved: Just dice the roasted vegetables, toss them in a pot with beans, a can of tomatoes, a ham hock and the spices and let it simmer a couple hours. Debone the ham hock, whirr the soup a bit with an immersion blender, drop in the diced ham and you're in business. Serve the soup in small bowls, garnished with cilantro and sliced scallions. Try it! And tell us how you like it.