Black Bean Soup
A giant pot sat simmering on the burner, its contents lending a spicy blend of textures and creaminess, Black Bean Soup.
It was ‘the best Black Bean Soup he’s ever had’ my youngest brother Steven said on his last visit. Steve was recalling with me a special memory going back over thirty years ago when he and his high school buddies made their somewhere over five mile trek to my first home for a visit. This is what I served them.
Maybe you too have prepared a dish sometime in the past and later on had a family member or friend remember it with fond memory.
Bet you’ll love this tasty Black Bean Soup that inspired good memories too !
As for my youngest brother, Steven, well, with the summer family reunion at the Jersey shore just around the corner, and a written recipe for his favorite Black Bean Soup on hand, I can hardly wait for his next visit!
- For Cooking the Black Beans:
- 2 16 ounce bags black beans
- 2 red onions
- 12 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- For the Soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices smoked center-cut bacon, cut in half
- 2 medium sized red onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, pith removed, chopped
- 2-4 jalapeno peppers, depending on spice preference, seeded, pith removed, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 3/4 tablespoon cumin
- 3/4 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- few grinds cracked black pepper
- 4 quarts, plus more if needed for thinning, beef, chicken or vegetable stock, or a combination
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, plus more according to taste
- fresh squeezed lime juice from half a lime, optional
- Garnish: lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, and crumbled Manchego cheese
- Preparing the black beans: Rinse beans in a colander and sift through for any debris. Tumble beans into a large sized stockpot, cover with water by about five inches and soak overnight
- Cooking the Black Beans: Drain and rinse soaked beans in a colander, wash the stock pot. Tumble rinsed beans back into the stock pot and fill with cool water to a few inches or more above the beans. Stick red onions with a half dozen cloves each and place into the bean pot along with 2 cinnamon sticks. On high heat, bring beans to a boil then reduce temperature to medium and cook until beans are tender, around 50 minutes to an hour. Drain cooked beans into a colander, remove cinnamon sticks, onions, and any bits of onion remaining in the mixture. Wash out the stock pot and wipe dry
- Preparing the Soup: Heat stock pot on low heat, add in one tablespoon olive oil along with the bacon pieces. Cook until bacon releases its fat into the pan, stir, tumble in the onions, red pepper, and jalapenos, cook until tender, around ten minutes. Scrape in the garlic and cook another few minutes. Sprinkle in the spice mixture, stir, cook another minute. Tumble in the cooked black beans folding through the pot ingredients, cook two minutes. Pour in the stock. Increase temperature to medium heat until soup begins to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer around an hour for flavors to fully blend. Remove all but two or three halves of bacon, discard. Working in batches, including the remaining leftover pieces of bacon, transfer 1/3 of the soup into a blender or food processor, pulse or blend to smooth then transfer to a large bowl. Pulse or Blend the next 1/3 of the soup and add to the already pureed soup in the bowl. Leave the last 1/3 of beans whole. Return the creamy black bean mixture back to the stock pot. Stir through and simmer soup another fifteen minutes or longer until hot and flavors have developed together. Thin soup with a little extra broth if desired. Sprinkle in the salt, stir, check seasoning, adjust to taste. Drizzle in the lime juice, stir. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, crumbled Manchego cheese, and lime wedges
This recipe makes a double batch of Black Bean Soup and may be halved if desired.
Black Bean Soup freezes well and tastes better the day after preparing, check seasoning and adjust to taste before serving.