Saturday, November 16, 2019

Black Bean Soup- À la Cubana

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.

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