Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cuban Black Bean Soup

One of the first places I had black bean soup was at a South American restaurant and it was oh so good. First I had the plaintain chips with chimichurri sauce  and then came my black bean soup. Wowzers. Instead of a bowl it comes in a loaf of sourdough bread with the fluffy insides removed. Topped with a tad bit of what I believe to be cojita cheese, it was just amazing! The last time I went to the restaurant the menu now lists that there is ham in the soup, so no longer do I indulge. The thought of ruining such a masterpiece with ham, truly upsets me. I wonder if it's always had ham and they just never listed it? I hope not. But I couldn't taste it.

When I was in the last month of pregnancy with Bambino I went into extreme nesting mode and was cooking up the wazoo so that we would have some food in the freezer to consume between feeding and diaper changing. (Of course my mother brought over loads of food so there really was no need for this, but I tried!) Now remember, this was pre Food Network/Cooking Channel days so my culinary expertise was not as honed as it is now. (Add laugh track here.) Anyways, one of the recipes I came across was for Cuban Black Bean Soup. With my love for black bean soup from the local South American restaurant I had to give it a try. It came out so good! I really enjoyed it. I served it over rice and added some avocado to it and it was amazing!

I make this soup about once a month and Bambino eats it with me but Hubby does not. He always likes the smell of the kitchen when I'm cooking it but says he doesn't want to try it, I don't know why. A girlfriend of mine was over when I was making the soup once and she enjoyed a bowlful so much that at her last birthday party I brought her a bowl of the soup instead of buying a gift! (No, I'm not that cheap, but maybe a little. I know she likes my soup and she said to not bring gifts!)  So this past weekend I decided to make some black bean soup for Bambino and I and we both sure loved it!

Click here for the original recipe.

7 cups cooked black beans (1 lb bag of dried black beans prepared according to directions on package)
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1tsp paprika
1 carrot, diced
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
handful of parsley, chopped
rind of orange
juice of orange

1. Cook beans and set to side.

2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions, garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika. Continue cooking until onions are translucent.

3.Add carrots and celery and saute for another 3-4 minutes.

4. Add bell pepper and saute for another 5 minutes.

5. Add salt, pepper, parsley and tomatoes. Simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.

6. Add in black beans and as much of the liquid for as thick or thin of a soup as you prefer. Bring to a boil. Add in orange rind and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes.

7. Remove rind. Add fresh orange juice and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

8. Serve with rice, avocado, cheese, sour cream, chopped onions or whatever you desire!

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 4
This may look like a difficult recipe, but if you get all your chopping done before hand, it's just a matter of adding things to a pot and letting it cook. This is a yummy and hearty recipe and I definitely recommend you giving it a try!

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