As winter begins to settle in outside, my thoughts turn to warm summer breezes and hot beaches. Cuba! This vegetarian bean soup is many layered with flavour: peppers, spices and sofrito. You'll love it!
It seems that many cultures have a black bean soup to call their own. I have made Mexican, Creole and just plain old generic black bean soup. Love them all!
I have based my version of the soup on a recipe from Leite's Culinary. A website, I would highly recommend for its great recipes and helpful reviews.
To serve six.
450 gr dried black beans, picked over and rinsed.
1 can black beans
3 l cold water
1 small onion, and coarsely chopped
1 small sweet bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 bay leaf
1 tsp grapeseed oil
For the sofrito
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 Cubanelle pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
To finish the soup
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 tsp sugar
1 bell pepper, fire-roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (optional). Suggest using red, yellow or orange sweet pepper
Cook the beans
Place the beans, onions, sweet pepper, water and a tsp of oil in the Instantpot and cook on the "beans" setting. The soup should still be broth. Taste the beans to make sure they are soft. If not, cook again by resetting the Instant Pot for five minutes...
Discard the onion, pepper, and bay leaf and lower the heat to medium-low. Place the contents of the can of black beans into a blender, purée and set aside. If the mixture is too thick, add some of the just cooked soup broth to thin it out. Keep the soup at a simmer while you make the sofrito.
Make the sofrito
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until light golden, about 20 seconds. Add the onion, green pepper, Caribbean peppers, and bay leaf and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved mashed black beans and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Finish the soup
Stir the sofrito into the pot of beans, then stir in the vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. Add the chopped roasted pepper, if using. Keep the pot over medium-low heat, cover partially, and simmer until creamy, 30 to 45 minutes.
Let it cool, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat at a very gentle simmer. The soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months, which is why I always at least double the recipe.
Remove the bay leaf and ladle the soup into bowls.