Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cuban Black Bean Soup

This very classic Cuban soup is usually made with a meaty ham-bone or smoked hock. I made mine vegetarian, as I had a vegetarian guest at the time, but if you want to add it back in, there is no reason not to.

8 to 12 servings
1 hour prep time, not including cooking the beans

Cook the Beans:
450 grams (1 pound) dried black beans
8 cups of water
3 or 4 bay leaves

Rinse the beans and put them in a large pot with the water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Leave them covered for an hour or two. Repeat, until the beans are fairly soft. Once they are close to being done, leave them on a simmer for an hour or so until completely cooked. This can be done a day in advance.

Make the Sofrito:
2 stalks of celery
2 medium onions
1 large green pepper
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 teaspoons rubbed oregano
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 cup tomato sauce

Wash, trim and finely dice the celery. Peel and finely dice the onions. Destem and deseed the pepper, and cut it in fine dice. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the celery, onions and pepper until soft but not browned. Add the oregano, cumin, paprika and garlic, and stir until well combined and fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 20 minutes or so, until the whole is well amalgamated and somewhat reduced.

Finish the Soup:
4 cups ham, chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup rum
finely chopped sweet onion, steamed rice, OR sour cream

Meanwhile, drain the beans and return them to the pot with the broth. Pick out the bay leaves. Bring the beans to a simmer.

When the sofrito is ready, add it to the beans. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove about one third to one half of the soup, and purée it, or at least mash it very thoroughly. Return it to the pot.

Just before serving, add the lime juice and rum and heat through. Serve traditionally, with chopped raw sweet onion and spoonfuls of steamed white rice, or with sour cream. Since I was serving the soup as a "primero" in a larger meal, I did not serve it with any rice.

Last year at this time I made Bean & Barley Burgers.


MsGarlic said...

this looks great. I may try it.

elaine said...

Made this last night (cold, windy and rainy in southwestern ON). Fantastic! Great combination of flavours. Thanks for the wet-winter-blues treat :P