Today, I bring to you Black Bean Soup. I’ve mentioned previously how much David likes black beans, so I was pretty sure making Black Bean Soup would result in him loving me even more than he already does. I had a 2 lb bag of dry black beans and especially since I was trying to watch my grocery spending this month, this was a perfect fit.
I’ve never made Black Bean Soup, so I went on a search to find a good recipe for inspiration. As I was looking for ideas, I had a hard time finding one that was exactly what I wanted, but one recipe that was the biggest help was the one on Simply Recipes. That Black Bean Soup recipe used a ham hock – which totally intrigued me. I had one in the freezer, so I decided to give it a shot.
Here’s how I made my Black Bean Soup – you’ll notice I used 2 lbs of beans, but you could easily half this recipe (I always make big batches):
Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Simply Recipes
2 lbs dried black beans (rinse and checked for debris or bad beans, then soak overnight in water, then drained and rinsed)
1 lb smoked ham hock or shank
7-10 cups water (start with less, add more if you need it)
4 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion, chopped
2 Anaheim chilies, chopped with seeds and veins removed (leave intact if you like things more spicy)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chile powder
Optional toppings: Shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, salsa, sliced jalapenos, sour cream, etc.
- Place your drained beans (the ones you soaked the night before) in a big pot with your ham hock. Cover with just enough water needed to cover the beans and ham hock. Add bay leaves, baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil; then reduce to low, stirring occasionally. Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are very tender. (NOTE: Your beans should always be covered with a bit of water, so if you find that you find that you don’t have enough water, add a bit more as your beans are cooking.)
- Remove the bay leaves from the beans. Remove the ham hock from the pot and cut off the ham from the bone and cut into small pieces. Set aside, you will add this later.
- Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add onions, chilies an bell pepper. Cook until softened. Reduce heat to low-medium, stir in garlic, cumin, and chile powder to the onion/pepper mixture. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
- Add onion/pepper mixture to the pot of beans. Stir to combine. Continue to simmer on low for another 30 minutes or so.
- Turn heat off on the beans. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes or so.
- In a blender, pulse about half of the soup in several small batches. To do this, I have a large glass bowl ready. I scoop about 3 cups of soup from the pot at a time. Now, be careful! It is hot and you don’t want the blender more than half full for each batch (so even though I do about 3 cups, you might need to do less depending on the size of your blender). Put the soup into the blender and cover it with the lid. If you wish, you can now cover the lid with a folded kitchen towel. Keep one hand on firmly on top of cover on top of blender and gently pulse the soup in short bursts of power until it is well blended. When finished, I pour it into my bowl and continue with another batch. I do this until I have blended about half of the soup. If you want a smoother soup, you will want to blend more of it. If you want it less blended, don’t do as much.
- Return all the blended soup back into the pot and stir to combine with the unblended soup. At this point, your soup should be at the thickness that you desire. If you aren’t happy with the thickness, you can add a bit of water to thin it down or you can blend a bit more of the soup. When you are happy with the thickenss, stir in the ham pieces. Squeeze in the juice of one lime (can use less if you like – we like the flavor it gives so I happily used one full lime). Add salt and/or pepper as you desire. Stir to combine.
- Serve in bowls and top with optional shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, salsa, sliced jalapenos, sour cream, etc. It’s also excellent served with freshly made tortilla chips.
I really enjoyed this soup. The smoky flavor from the ham, but the spiciness from the peppers was really to my liking. David and Wellie (my oldest) raved about it too. And, yes, he does love me more now because I made another dish with black beans.
The younger kids didn’t enjoy it as much – I think it might have been a bit too much flavor for them, but I pretty much expected that. It wasn’t like they didn’t eat it though, so that’s always a plus.
Have a Souper Day!