Black Bean Stoup and Southwestern Monte Cristo Sandwiches
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 ribs celery with greens, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 1 large dried bay leaf
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- Four 15-ounce cans black beans
- 2 to 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin, a couple of palmfuls
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/3 palmful
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with peppers and onions, or stewed tomatoes
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 8 slices white sandwich bread
- 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly or chili sauce, tomatillo or tomato salsa, taco sauce - whatever you have on hand
- 8 slices honey baked ham, from the deli counter
- 8 slices pepper jack cheese, from the deli counter
- 8 slices smoked turkey, from the deli counter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Splash of milk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 to 3 scallions, chopped
Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the hot pot, then the garlic, celery, onions, jalapeno and bay leaf. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, and then add the bell peppers and continue to cook. Drain 2 cans of beans and add them. Use a fork to mash up the beans in the remaining cans. Stir the mashed beans into the pot and season with 2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Add the stock and tomatoes to the stoup and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, about 15 minutes. Add the lime juice. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
While stoup cooks, make the Monte Cristos. Spread the bread with a light layer of hot pepper jelly. Build the sandwiches using 2 slices each of ham, cheese and turkey per sandwich. Beat the eggs with the milk and the remaining 2 teaspoons hot sauce. Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt. Heat a griddle pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet. Dip each sandwich in egg coating and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side to melt the cheese and warm the meats through.
Ladle up the black bean stoup and top with the sour cream and scallions. Cut the Monte Cristos corner to corner and serve halves alongside the stoup for dipping and munching.
From Food Network Kitchens; after further testing and to ensure the best results this recipe has been altered from what was in the actual episode.