Monday, January 7, 2008

Black bean soup

This one is popular in my house too. I’ve never actually made it with the ham (vegetarian sisters), but I’m sure it’s good. I always make the chipotle recipe. Chipotles in adobo sauce are sold in a can in the Mexican food section of the supermarket. Chipotles are smoked jalapeños. You can freeze leftover chipotles. On a waxed paper lined cookie sheet, place the chipotles, separate from each other with a bit of sauce added to each pepper and freeze. When frozen, wrap excess waxed paper around each one and put in a Ziploc bag to freeze. I freeze this soup single serving Ziploc containers. If you make this with mixed beans, collard greens (or other greens) are good with it. But, collards turn to mush in the freezer. The black bean soup recipes are from America's Test Kitchen.




1 lb (2 c) dried black beans, rinsed and picked over

4 oz ham steak, trimmed of rind

2 dried bay leaves

5 c water

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 tsp table salt


3 T olive oil

2 large onions, chopped fine (about 3 cups)

1 large carrot, chopped fine (about ½ c)

3 medium celery ribs, chopped fine ( about 1 c)

½ tsp salt

5-6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 ½ T cumin

6 c low sodium chicken broth

2 T cornstarch

2 T water

2 T juice from 1 to 2 limes


lime wedges

minces fresh cilantro leaves

finely diced red onion

diced avocado

sour cream

1. For the beans: Place beans, ham, bay leaves, water, and baking soda in a large saucepan with tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; using large spoon, skim scum as it rises to surface. Stir in salt, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer briskly until beans are tender, 1 1/4 to 1 ½ hours (if necessary, add another 1 cup water and continue to simmer until beans are tender); do not drain beans. Discard bay. Remove ham steak (ham steak darkens to color of beans), cut into 1/4-inch cubes, and set aside.

2. For the soup: Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking; add onions, carrot, celery, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, pepper flakes, and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in beans, bean cooking liquid, and chicken broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.

3. Finish the soup: Ladle 1 ½ cups beans and 2 cups liquid into food processor or blender, process until smooth, and return to pot. Stir together cornstarch and water in small bowl until combined, then gradually stir in about ½ of the cornstarch mixture into soup; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to fully thicken. If soup is still thinner than desired once boiling, stir in remaining mixture into soup; return to a boil to fully thicken. Off heat, stir in lime juice and reserved ham; ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately, passing garnishes separately.


The addition of chipoltle chiles in adobo-smoked jalapeños packed in a seasoned tomato-vinegar sauce-makes this a spicier, smokier variation on black bean soup.

Follow the recipe for black bean soup, omitting red pepper flakes and adding 1 tablespoon minced chipotle chilies in adobe plus 2 tsp adobo sauce along with chicken broth in step 2.

12(or however many) BEAN SOUP

Use a bag of mixed beans in place of black beans. If not freezing can add collard greens or other greens.

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