Black Bean Soup
MAKES: 4 servings
TIME: 30 minutes with cooked beans
This works best when you pure some of the sturdy black beans and stir them back in, for a smooth-chunky effect. But in many Latin American versions the beans are left whole, with chunks of sweet potato, squash, or even mango added toward the end of cooking. A little alcohol is sometimes added to the finished soup to help cut the richness of the beans; orange juice and/or zest is another fine addition (see the variation). Omit the dairy garnish for a vegan soup.
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons sherry or dark rum (optional)
3 cups cooked black beans, drained
1 quart vegetable stock or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish
Minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
01 Put the oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chile powder, and cumin and cook, stirring, for another minute.
02 Stir in the sherry if you’re using it, then cook for a minute and add the beans, stock, and some salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
03 Use an immersion blender to pure some of the soup in the pan. Or cool the mixture slightly, pour about half of the soup into a blender, and carefully pure. (The soup may be made ahead to this point, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before proceeding.)
04 Add the lime juice and stir; taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve garnished with sour cream and minced cilantro.
Brazilian-Style Black Bean Soup. In Step 2, replace 2 cups of the stock with 2 cups orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed). Add 2 teaspoons minced or julienned orange zest in the last couple of minutes of cooking.