Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup is a kind of seasoned soup in which black turtle beans are puréed enough that they are swimming in liquid and have a mouthfeel like cream soup, but not to the point of making the mixture sludgy. The velvety, aromatic broth is called sopa negra or caldo de frijol.

Black beans are my favorite kind of bean. I don’t make them nearly often enough these days.

There are lots of different regional variations to black bean soup- Brazilian, Cuban, Mexican… I didn’t choose to narrow my recipe to one region, so I guess this is the stone soup version. . Flavor wise, it’s kind of a black bean chili, especially when served with the toppings I suggest. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

I went for the quick and easy on this one, and used canned beans. In most of my cooking I tend to shy away canned foods, but beans and tomatoes are exceptions that I use fairly frequently. While there are quality differences between different brands of canned beans, most of them are acceptable, and using them shaves several hours off cooking times when you need something to eat now. Tomatoes are similar- when tomatoes aren’t in season you get better flavor from canned ones, and often shave off some cooking time as well. Most of my recipes will probably be using dry beans, but I also have days when I need to throw something together quick.

For the diced tomato I think I used fire roasted with garlic the first time I made it. The can in the photos is green pepper, celery and onion. There are probably a number of options on your grocery shelf. Pick a flavor that you think would go well with the other flavors in the recipe.

Black Bean Soup

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 45-55 minutes

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 ¾ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ medium onions, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
4 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained.
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14.5-oz can diced tomato (flavored if desired)
1 bay leaf
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 ea lime, juiced
2 tsp bottled lime juice

Sour cream
Green onion
Tortilla chips

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar (in place of lime)
1 pinch cayenne
2 ¾ cup water
½ cup green onion
1 Tablespoon sambal
1 small sweet red pepper, diced
1 ⅛ teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon Louisiana style hot sauce
Radish (garnish)
Cheddar Cheese (garnish)
Hot sauce (garnish)

Place bacon in cold pot. Cook over medium heat until fat renders and bacon is cooked, but not crispy, approximately 5 minutes.

Add olive oil and onion, celery and carrots. Cook until soft 8-10 minutes. Add minced garlic, minced jalapeno and spices. Cook 30 seconds, until aroma is released. Add rinsed and drained beans, broth, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes.

Transfer one or two ladles of soup to a blender and puree. Return to pot. Add cilantro and lime juice. Serve with garnishes.

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