Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rick's Savory Black Bean Soup

Ruth held a meeting of her garden club at the house today and she asked me to make some soups for the “ladies.”  I decided to make a big pot of crab soup and I found some dried black beans in the pantry and thought a nice southwest black bean soup would be good.  This is a really good soup for a cold winter day and hits all the flavor notes.  Thick and savory with a hint of smokiness from the bacon…YUM!


1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups), rinsed, soaked in 4 quarts of water overnight, drained
1/2 lb smoked slab bacon (cubed into ½” pieces)
2 bay leaves
5 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
4 large carrots
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 cups chicken stock
1 can tomoto paste
1 Tbs Worcestershire
1 Tbsp molasses
1 pinch cinnamon
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp lime juice (can substitute lemon juice)



Chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream
Avocado, peeled and chopped


Soak the beans overnight.  They will re-hydrate and double in size.

Place the pre-soaked beans in a heavy 4-quart pot.  Add 5 cups of water, bay leaves, salt and baking soda.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and let cook until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours, then remove the bay leaves.
Prepare the veg.

Heat the olive oil in a large 8-quart pot on medium high until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Add the cubed bacon and fry until lightly browned.  Add the onions, celery, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the cumin, chili powder, and garlic, cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the sauted bacon and veg mixture to the beans and their cooking liquid.  Add chicken stock, molasses, tomato paste, Worcestershire, cinnamon and bell pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove about half of the soup to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and return to the pot of soup. (You may need to puree the soup in small batches depending on the size of your blender. Don't fill the blender more than half way and be sure to hold the lid while blending.) Add 3 Tbsp of lime juice. Adjust he seasonings. If needed.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream and avocado if desired

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