Cam's Black Bean + Tomatillo Soup

This is a good one.  I wasn't sure about the tomatillos when Cam was explaining his idea for the soup but they really add a beautiful bright flavor.  

Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes that you'll find in papery/dried leaf like husks.  Peel those off and discard along with any stems. Cotija cheese is a salty, hard cow's milk cheese from Mexico.  You can grate it or just crumble it with your hands - you'll notice it crumbles into little rice sized bits.  

Serves 8.

Black Bean + Tomatillo Soup

1 lb dried black beans

1 large white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon cumin

2 quarts water

1 jalapeno, quartered

2 bay leaves

cilantro, leaves chopped and stems separated and reserved

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, quartered

2 ears corn, husks removed

2 tablespoons cotija cheese

lime juice

salt + pepper

Pick through beans, discarding anything that is not a bean.  Place in bowl and cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak overnight.  

In a large pot over medium low heat, warm olive oil.  Add onions and sweat until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic, cook 2 minutes.  

Wrap jalapeño, bay leaves and cilantro stems in cheese cloth, secure with kitchen string. 

Drain beans of soaking liquid.  Add beans, jalapeño sachet, cumin and 2 quarts of water to the onions.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until beans are soft, about 2 hours. 

While soup is simmering, heat oven to 350.  Arrange tomatillos in oven safe dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil.  Roast until soft, 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and puree smooth.   

Grill corn until slightly blackened.  Cut kernels from cob, discard cob.  Toss with cotija cheese, chopped cilantro leaves and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.   

Remove sachet from beans.  Puree about 1/3 of soup.  Stir tomatillo puree and pureed 1/3 into soup.  Adjust seasoning.  Top with corn garnish.