All summer, I’ve been making variations on this black bean soup. And now that I’ve got it just right, it’s time to share. It’s easy, it’s healthy and, best of all, it’s super-tasty. While you can still grab native corn, there’s no better time than right now to get cookin’! Local amici, please head for Berruti’s Harvest House on 17 in Glastonbury for the biggest and best corn I’ve found all season.

Quick side note about a new spice blend I used–Berbere from Penzeys Spices–for those of us who like it hot! If you don’t have it on hand, you might substitute ¼ teaspoon of cayenne. Or if you run a little cooler than this cat, you can skip it altogether. But if you’re here in the Land of Steady Habits and want to give it a try, why not take a ride to West Hartford Center?

olive oil to coat the bottom of your pan
½ a large sweet onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon epazote
½ teaspoon Penzey’s Berbere seasoning
2 15-1/2 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
juice of half a lime
kernels from 2 fresh cobs of corn (or 1 cup frozen corn)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2/3 cup prepared salsa (my favorite salsas for this recipe are from Rick Bayless Frontera: guajillo, chipotle or roasted habanero; Green Mountain Gringo also works nicely)
¼ teaspoon salt

Garnish with any or all of the following for optimal deliciousness:
fresh cilantro
diced grape tomatoes
chopped green onion
sour cream
tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5-6 minutes minutes. Add garlic, red pepper, Berbere seasoning, chili powder, cumin and epazote. Cook a couple of minutes more, stirring as you go. Add beans, chicken stock, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add the corn at the very end–just for a minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Now, take about three ladles of beans/corn/peppers (more or less, depending how chunky you’d like your soup to be) and set aside. Use an immersion (stick) blender to blend remaining soup in the pot. Stir beans/corn/peppers back in. Serve with your choice of garnishes. Enjoy the soup break!