Black Bean Ancho Chili Soup with Roasted Garlic & Acorn Squash Quesadillas

Using a dried ancho chili pepper adds complexity and a depth of flavor to the black bean soup, and while it is an extra step to toast and rehydrate, the process is simple and can be done while you are prepping other ingredients. Anchos are widely available in many larger grocery chains, or can be found at Hispanic markets, but you can substitute with chili powder if you have difficulty finding them. Acorn squash pushes the quesadillas in a healthy direction, standing in for more cheese, without compromising on goodness.

Black Bean Ancho Chili Soup with Roasted Garlic & Acorn Squash Quesadillas

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Using a dried ancho chili pepper adds complexity and a depth of flavor to the black bean soup, and while it is an extra step to toast and rehydrate, the process is simple and can be done while you are prepping other ingredients. Anchos are widely available in many larger grocery chains, or can be found at Hispanic markets, but you can substitute with chili powder if you have difficulty finding them. Acorn squash pushes the quesadillas in a healthy direction, standing in for more cheese, without compromising on goodness.
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Servings 4

Ingredients
 

For the soup:

  • 28- ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 dried ancho chili, or substitute ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the quesadillas:

  • 1 small acorn squash, about 1 ¼ pounds
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 large garlic cloves, skin left on
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 4 8- inch flour tortillas
  • Olive oil for the pan

Cut limes, avocado and sour cream for serving

    Instructions
     

    • Begin by roasting the squash. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Cut the squash in half, removing the stem as you do so, and scoop out the seeds. Place on an oiled, parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, place the garlic cloves on the baking sheet as well and continue to roast another 10-15 minutes until both the squash and garlic are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
    • While the squash is roasting, make the soup. Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, remaining teaspoon of salt, sugar, and allspice and cook for one minute. Stir in the beans and the broth and bring to a simmer over low heat.
    • While the beans are simmering, toast the ancho chili in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Turn it a few times until it is soft enough to remove the stem and seeds, then split it open and toast the inside for a minute or two, being careful that it doesn’t burn or begin smoking. Remove to a bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water, and let it soak until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the chili from the water and chop it, adding the soaking water and the chopped chili to the pot of beans. Return to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.*
    • Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot, or a potato masher to roughly mash up the beans, or transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree, adding it back to the pot. The goal is a slightly chunky black bean soup. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Stir in the orange juice, then cover and keep warm while you finish the quesadillas.
    • Use a spoon to scoop the squash from its skin and place it in a medium bowl. Remove the garlic from it’s skins, and mash slightly with a fork in the bowl with the squash. Stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup and salt, then stir in the cheese.
    • Brush a small amount of oil in a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Place ¼ of the squash mixture in a tortilla, then fold in half and place in the skillet. Repeat with however many will fit in your skillet, turning them to cook evenly on both sides. Once the cheese is melted and the tortillas are nicely browned, remove to a cutting board, or place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven.
    • To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, serve with quesadillas, and pass the limes, avocado and sour cream on the side.

    Notes

    Note: If you are not using the whole ancho chili, add the chili powder along with the cumin, garlic and other ingredients in step 5. You will also need to add a cup more broth or water to get the soup to the correct consistency.
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