Saturday, May 29, 2010

Black Bean Soup

I don't know what prompted it, but a couple of weeks ago I got a Major craving...for Black Bean Soup.

This is a soup with a real depth of flavor from many vegetables and some bacon.

To start: soak a pound of rinsed, picked over, dried black beans with at least three inches of water above them overnight (or about 12 hours).

When you are ready to make soup, drain them.  In a large, heavy dutch oven or stockpot, sauce 6-8 strips of minced bacon.  When bacon is crisp, add the following:

1 Spanish (white) onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped

1 leek, sliced, rinsed, and drained (got to get the sand out)
2 carrots, chopped

after about five minutes when the vegetables are softened (you don't want them mushy), add 3-4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped jalapeno (seeds optional) and 2 tsp each of cumin and coriander.  Stir just for a minute until the fragrance hits you.

Then add 2 cans of chicken stock (14 oz each) and water to total 12 cups of liquid. Also add one large minced tomato (or 1/4 c. tomato paste if you don't have a tomato).

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally for two hours.  At this point, check the beans for doneness.  You are going for creamy (not mushy or gritty). You might need to go 2 1/2 hours on the simmer.  When they've reached doneness, stir in about 3/4 c of chopped cilantro and 1 tbsp vinegar (red wine, white wine, sherry are all acceptable vinegars here).

At this point, if you have a handheld immersion blender, now is the time to use it.  If not, you can blend it in batches in a blender.  As it is hot, do not put the regular blender lid on, rather hold a clean kitchen towel over the top so the heat can escape while you are blending.  And can I just enter a plug here for the virtues of the immersion blender?  You really need one. now.

But I digress. What consistency should you blend it to?  That is entirely a personal preference.  I like to blend it so it is pretty smooth.  This is the time to check the seasoning, taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.

I like to serve this with a dollop of sour cream, a wedge of lime and a sprinkling of cilantro.  I took this picture the next day and my husband had tossed my chopped cilantro, so it's kinda naked in the picture.

I also like it alongside my simple whole wheat cornbread and a salad (and a lager).  Enjoy!


  1. alright lady, tell me how to use canned beans in this soup. I'm making it this week. I have a hand blender and everything :)

  2. hey, what am I? chopped liver?? Where are my canned bean directions :)