Black beans were originally grown in the Americas over 7,000 years ago and have now migrated to cuisines all over the world. Although Black Bean soup has been around for centuries and Texans have been cooking it for decades, it has reemerged as a fashionable offering, showing up on the menus of smart new restaurants and cafes. No doubt you want your soup pot to be equally hip, yes?
The little black beans have a creamy white center and a mild taste, meaning they soak up lots of flavors when cooked with other ingredients. Our carnivore friends flavor with lard or bacon, but that doesn’t happen in the Alamo Vegetarian kitchen and this soup really doesn’t need it. Instead, borrow a trick from our Caribbean friends and flavor it up with sofrito – a sauté of garlic, chilies, onion, and spice that is pureed and mixed into the soup stock
I think you will enjoy this recipe. As with most soups, it tastes great the first day and even better on the second so it is great to make ahead of time. Garnish with sour cream, fresh cilantro, and some thinly-sliced and crisply-fried corn tortilla strips.
Vegan option – just delete the sour cream garnish.
½ lb black beans, soaked overnight (be sure to read up on how to do this)
or 2 cans of vegetarian black beans, drained and rinsed
3 C vegetable stock, room temperature
1 t fresh epazote leaves, finely chopped, or ½ t dried
1 lg tomato, roasted, skinned, pressed through a potato ricer
2 T fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 t fresh Mexican oregano, finely chopped, or 1 t dried
2 T vegetable oil
1 T cumin
4 oz chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, roasted, skinned, chopped
1 poblano pepper, roasted, skinned, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 T corn starch
sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper
thinly-sliced and fried corn tortilla strips
- Place properly soaked and drained beans in a large stockpot with vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, remove scum from top of broth, cover, and cook over medium-low heat until beans just begin to be tender. If using canned beans, reduce cooking time until step 3.
- Stir in roasted tomato (be sure to press it through a potato ricer) and herbs. Continue cooking until beans are tender but still firm.
- In a separate pan, sauté cumin and onion in oil until onions are fully soft but not yet brown. Add chopped peppers and minced garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add some of the soup broth and, using an immersion blender, puree the mixture. Stir the puree into the soup and continue to cook until beans are tender but not mushy.
- Mix Worcestershire sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir into the soup mixture. Taste and correct the seasonings. Garnish and serve.