In my years masquerading as a Texan, I looked and looked for a great black bean soup to make at home. After several uninspiring batches, at last! I came upon this, one worth making and adapting again and again.
The original recipe came from Laurie Colwin, the food and fiction writer who died too young in 1992. Her cookbooks remain in print and contain simple home cooking at its finest. Check your library for copies of Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen and More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen. Reading, you too may feel as if you’ve lost a friend.
Serve At Last! Black Bean Soup topped with chopped green onions and a small dollop of sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese.
AT LAST! BLACK BEAN SOUP RECIPE
Total preparation time: 7 – 9 hours
Makes 12 cups
- 2 cups dried black beans
- 2 cups cold water
- 24 ounces (3 cups) vegetable (or other) broth
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces canned or frozen corn
- 1 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
- 1 ham hock (optional)
- Juice from 1 lime (don't skip the lime!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place beans in colander. Sift through with fingers, discarding shriveled beans and foreign objects. Wash thoroughly and sift through again. Place beans and cold water in a four-quart (or larger) dutch oven or slow cooker and soak for one hour.
Add remaining ingredients (except lime juice and seasoning) and stir. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook 5 – 7 hours or until beans are soft and fully cooked. While cooking, stir occasionally, adjusting heat and adding liquid as needed.
Remove ham hock; if meaty, shred meat and set aside, discarding fat. (Optional though recommended step: purée about 2 cups of cooked mixture in a blender or food processor, then add back to soup.) Add meat, lime juice, salt and pepper and serve. Reheats well though may need additional liquid.
This is one of the Kitchen Parade recipes that I make again and again, making a few small changes along the way but preserving the original bean-happy soup. These are a few of the adaptations, albeit small.
I've learned the hard way that beans don't keep so try to use them within a few weeks of purchase. Two cups of dried black beans is the equivalent of 14 ounces, so these days I tend to use the whole bag of beans, the full 16 ounce (1 pound) bag.
For lower carbs, I some times use sweet potatoes rather than potatoes.
I'll throw in canned pumpkin, up to a 15-ounce can.
Whatever you do, don't skip the lime. The soup will taste like 'nothing' – completely bland – without it.
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