This is my standby recipe for black bean soup. Not to say that I don’t try other recipes, but when there’s no time to experiment, and I need to get dinner on the table, I know it works.. and it’s delicious.

This is one gigantic ham [...]">

Black Bean Soup

This is my standby recipe for black bean soup. Not to say that I don’t try other recipes, but when there’s no time to experiment, and I need to get dinner on the table, I know it works.. and it’s delicious.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

This is one gigantic ham hock – it weighed in a little over a pound, but it was the smallest one the butcher had at the market. The recipe calls for one that’s around 2/3 of a pound, but don’t worry about it being exact.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

I’ve also used “bean” part of the recipe to cook black beans for use in other things. When I want to cook plain beans, I follow the “bean” directions, leaving out the ham hock.

Black Bean Soup

 

Black Bean Soup

Adapted slightly from Cooks Illustrated
Serves 6 
 
There won’t be a lot of meat on the ham hock, but it’s worth taking off, and adds a subtle smokey flavor to the soup. There are a bunch of topping options below, but all of them go great with a nice hunk of cornbread. 
 
Beans
1 pound (2 1/4 cups) dried black beans, rinsed and picked through
1 smoked ham hock (about 2/3 pound), rinsed
1 medium green bell pepper, quartered, cored and seeded
3 quarts plus 1 cup water
1 medium onion, minced 
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
 
Sofrito
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin 
 
Finishing the Soup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lime juice, from one lime
 
 
Topping Options
 
Cilantro, Onion & Sour Cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup rough chopped cilantro
1/2 small red onion, minced
Hot pepper sauce
 
Monterrey Jack and Tomato
4 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 minced jalapeño 
 
Avocado and Sour Cream

 

Place beans, ham hock, and bell pepper in a dutch oven or large stock pot. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low and skim any “scum” from the surface. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt return to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until beans are tender, being sure to test several beans; this will take about two hours. Remove hock from pot, and set aside until cool enough to handle; remove meat from hock, discard bone, skin and fat. Return picked meat to pot. Remove bell pepper quarters.

Start the Sofrito. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and salt; sauté until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add remaining sofrito ingredients and sauté for an additional minute. To the skillet, add 1 1/2 cups of beans and 2 cups of cooking liquid. Mash beans with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Simmer uncovered over medium heat until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Return mixture to beans. Simmer beans uncovered for 15 minutes to blend flavors.

To finish the soup, mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Stir into soup, and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves, stir in lime juice and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately with topping(s) of choice.

*Soup can be made up to three days ahead of time (do not add the lime juice) and stored in an airtight container. Re-heat and add lime juice to finish.

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One Response to Black Bean Soup

  1. peter @feedyoursoultoo says:

    This soup looks fabulous. I featured it on my Friday Five – Cuban addition over at Feed Your Soul Too – http://www.feedyoursoul2.com/2013/10/friday-five-cuban-addition.html

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