A spicy slow cooker black bean soup, rich with thick Crema Salvadoreña and topped with Cotija cornbread croutons. Perfect for weeknight meals.
Today I come to you quickly from home, half-packed for our trip up north to Calistoga. I had planned on sharing another pan de muerto recipe with you today because I’m obsessed and I have more ideas for pan de muerto than you actually probably need or want, but yesterday’s test failed to rise—like at all—and I’m too flummoxed to figure it out so I’m just going to tuck that one away for next year. Instead I will steer you in the direction of this spicy, creamy slow cooker black bean soup.
Keys To Making Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
This is a recipe I developed for Cacique cheese and is as easy as tossing everything in the slow cooker and letting it bubble away for a few hours while you work or do a few loads of laundry or zone out on the couch. This soup can be as spicy as you’d like. It calls for three jalapeños which you can either lessen or leave the seeds in to make it spicier. I left the seeds in and that soup had some heat!
The Secret Ingredient
After a few hours it is time to add some magic: the luxurious tang of Crema Salvadoreña—the whole thing, stir it in and puree it with a stick blender right in the slow cooker pot. This thick, slightly sour cream is what you will find dolloped on your pupusa but also gives a rich depth to soups. If you can’t find it regular ‘ol sour cream will do, but is more tangy in flavor.
Don’t Forget the Croutons
Completely optional (but highly recommended) is to top this soup with cheesy Cotija cornbread croutons. The recipe for the cornbread makes way more than you will need for the soup but really, do you ever have too much cornbread?
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 jalapenos, seeds removed if you’d like it less spicy, stemmed and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
- 15 ounce container Crema Salvadoreña
- 5 ounces (half wheel) Cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 avocado, sliced (for garnish)
For the Cornbread:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 5 ounces (half of a wheel) Cotija cheese, crumbled
- Heat oven to 375°F. Grease an 18 x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to break up any lumps. Break eggs into a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add melted butter, milk, and oil and whisk until smooth. Pour all dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add cheese and fold into batter. Scrape batter onto prepared baking sheet and level until with a rubber spatula.
- Place in oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Increase heat to 425°F. Let cool on a wire rack about 20 minutes. Flip out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares. Return croutons to the baking sheet in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches). Bake at 425°F until toasted, about 20 minutes.
- Place onion, tomatoes, carrots, jalapenos, garlic, black beans (with their juice), broth, chili powder, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Add cilantro leaves and blend until smooth with a stick blender. If you don’t have a stick blender you can transfer it to a blender or just skip this step for a chunkier soup. Add crema and stir until smooth. Serve with avocado, crumbled cheese, and croutons.
For more weeknight soup ideas click here!