I had a pretty mean hankerin’ for some good black bean soup… I finally remembered to soak the beans overnight, and I was able to actually make some! (The key being to remember the prep the day before. Sticky notes are my friend.) It turned out ah-maze-ing. No ham hocks needed (nor missed)! It’s a lovely blending of flavors, between a spicy black bean and a Cuban black bean soup. Hits all the right spots – served hot on a cold day, you can’t do better!
As proof, last night my brother-in-law came by, and was hungry. We fed him some leftover soup. He ate it all, and asked for the recipe, saying how tasty it was!
Without further ado, I present you with the sacred recipe:
- 1 lb dry black beans, rinsed, picked through, soaked overnight
- 2 onions, chopped (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used a red bell; I’d recommend red, yellow, or orange)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 C roasted peppers (I used some Hatch chilies I roasted and froze from the summer)
- 2 jalapenos, minced, or since I didn’t have any of these, I used 5 Thai chilies, thinly sliced
- 1 15oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2 T tomato paste
- 1 orange, using a veg peeler, peel a large strip of peel from this, cut the orange in half
- 1 T cumin
- 1 T smoked salt (this can vary; my smoked salt is huge crystals and isn’t really salty, more just smoky flavor, so I have to use more – I used alderwood smoked salt from Whole Foods)
- regular salt, to taste
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 2 t oregano (Mexican oregano or marjoram work well)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 C vegetable broth
- 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
- lime, apple cider vinegar to serve with
- optional: vegan sour cream, tortilla chips, avocado, chopped onion, hot sauce to serve
For the beans: Rinse the beans after being soaked, and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water to about 2″ over the beans. Add a strip of kombu (this helps with the gassiness, so I’ve heard). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and stirring minimally, cook about 1.5 hrs until the beans are tender. Set aside – do not drain.
In a large soup pot, heat ~2T oil and cook the onions about 5 minutes until translucent and golden. Add the celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes to soften and start to get some color. Add the tomato paste, cumin, smoked salt, smoked paprika, oregano, and jalapenos, cook another 2 minutes. Pour in the canned chopped tomatoes and their sauce, along with the roasted peppers.
Using a large slotted spoon, add the beans to the soup mixture (it’s ok to bring in some of the cooking liquid as you do this). Also add about 2-3 C of the black bean cooking liquid (depends on how soupy you like it – add more liquid if you want it soupy, less if you want it stewy). Drop in the bay leaves, the orange rind, the orange halves (squeeze the juice and plop in the halves), pour the vegetable broth in to add a bit more liquid, and bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat, remove the orange, rind, and bay leaves, and using a stick blender, puree about 75% of the mixture. You could also do this in a blender, just might have to do this in batches. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Stir in the cilantro and the juice of a lime.
Serve with a sprinkling of apple cider vinegar (very important!) – maybe about 1-2 t per bowl (start with less, then add more if you feel it needs it). Then, optionally top with any or all of the following: vegan sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, chopped onion, and a side of additional hot sauce for a bit of an extra kick.