Today, I will be teaching the third in a series of soup classes to a group of seniors at our local community center. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the purpose of this soup series is to encourage seniors to cook more at home, rather than buy processed and artificial foods, which tend to be high in sodium and additives, and are often not as healthful as foods that can be prepared easily at home.
The first two classes, we made a Simple Lentil Soup and a Simple Mushroom Barley Soup, both of which were very well received by the class. I have been so encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest that this group of seniors has shown so far, and I am hopeful that a number of them will start cooking more at home.
Based on popular vote, I will be making a Black Bean Soup today. One of our local restaurants, Gates Restaurant and Bar, serves a long-time favorite, Cuban Black Bean Soup, which I tried to recreate. In fact, I ordered a cup of their soup to take home just so I could try to come as close as possible to the Cuban Black Bean Soup that was requested. Once I tasted Gate’s Cuban Black Bean Soup, I understood why it is so loved. Their black bean soup is ultra-creamy tasting and just pure comfort.
I’ve made black bean soup before, but mine has never come out this creamy. The trick is to cook the beans and the soup for a really long time. This Cuban Black Bean Soup is perfect for a cold winter day when you’re stuck inside like we’ve been lately with all the snow this winter. I’ll be serving this soup with some fresh cornbread and Michel Nischan’s Chopped Salad with Apple Vinaigrette, another popular dish from a favorite local restaurant, The Dressing Room, which was co-founded by the late Paul Newman and Chef Nischan.
Cuban Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Gates’ Restaurant. I substituted uncured turkey bacon for the traditional smoked ham hock to reduce the amount of fat and preservatives that are sometimes used in smoked products. Gates serves their black bean soup with a simple garnish of parsley and onion. If you like more toppings, try avocado, red bell pepper, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. For a vegetarian soup, simple leave out the turkey bacon and Greek yogurt garnish.
In a large soup pot, bring stock to a boil. Add drained black beans, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and cumin. Cook until onions are translucent, but not brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
|Onions, Carrots, Celery and Garlic Form the Flavor Base for Most Soups|
Add this to the chicken stock pot, along with the parsley, turkey bacon and sherry. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
Remove the turkey bacon. Use an immersion blender, blender or food processor to puree soup to your liking. If you like some whole beans, puree half the soup, then add back to the the soup pot Season to taste with salt and pepper.
|Puree Soup To Your Liking.|
Garnish soup with fresh parsley or cilantro, red onion, avocado and Greek yogurt if desired.
Cuban Black Bean Soup
- 10 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 2 cups dried black beans soaked overnight in water, then rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large onions chopped
- 4 carrots chopped
- 6 celery stalks chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 3 slices uncured turkey bacon optional
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley or cilantro
- chopped <g class="gr_ gr_186 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" id="186" data-gr-id="186">red</g> onion
- chopped avocado
- chopped red bell pepper
- non-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
- In a large soup pot, bring <g class="gr_ gr_252 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="252" data-gr-id="252">stock</g> to a boil. Add drained black beans, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add onions, carrots, celery, <g class="gr_ gr_251 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="251" data-gr-id="251">garlic</g> and cumin. Cook until onions are translucent, but not brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add this to the soup pot, along with the parsley, turkey <g class="gr_ gr_329 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="329" data-gr-id="329">bacon</g> and sherry. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
- Remove the turkey bacon. Use an immersion blender, blender or food processor to puree soup to your liking. If you like some whole beans, puree half the soup, then add back to the <g class="gr_ gr_330 gr-alert gr_spell gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling only-del replaceWithoutSep" id="330" data-gr-id="330">the soup</g> pot Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish soup with fresh parsley or cilantro, red onion, avocado and Greek yogurt if desired.
More Black Bean Soup Recipes:
Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema, Smitten Kitchen
Stormy Black Bean Soup, FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Black Bean Soup with Orange-Jalapeno Salsa, Herbivoracious
Black Bean and Rice Soup with Lime and Cilantro, Kalyn’s Kitchen (for a healthier option, substitute brown rice and add to soup 45 minutes before soup is done)