It's hard not to enjoy black bean soup. It's rich and dark, a perfect cold-weather recipe, and virtuous too--both calorically and financially. Black bean soup is a simple classic, and should therefore not be tweaked, added to, or substantially changed.
Or, instead, we could do all of those things! We could seek to improve black bean soup--nay, perfect it.
"Perfect it?!?!" you gasp. "But how?"
"With bacon," I say. "With bacon."
Yes, dear friends, dear readers: We can make our black bean soup with bacon. Then, we can play off the rich bacon with smoky chipotle and sweet garlic and let the soup slowly cook down into a thick, hearty stew. We can load up the toppings: sour cream to offset the smoke and heat; fried egg for protein; avocado for healthy fats and texture. Finally we can serve the whole mess with the afterthought of some greenery: a little chopped scallion to make it look as though we went to trouble (we didn't, of course; the whole thing was quite easy).
Et voilà--a delicious, dark, filling meal, served in a single bowl. (Recipe after the jump!)