Another great recipe from Cook's Illustrated. This is a nice compromise between the thin-watery soup and the thick-chunky version. Be sure to offer a garnish or two; they not only add taste, but texture and color to the soup.
- 2 cups dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
- 4 ounces ham steaks, trimmed of rind
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 5 cups water
- 1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups onions, chopped fine (2 large onions)
- 1 large carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 medium celery ribs, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
- 5 -6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from chipotle chili can)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (1-2 limes)
- 2 limes, for lime wedges
- 1 bunch minced fresh cilantro
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- diced avocado
- sour cream
- For the Beans:.
- Place bean, ham, bay leaves, water and baking soda in large saucepan with tight-fitting lid.
- Bring to boil over medium-high heat; using large spoon, skim scum as it rises to surface.
- Stir in salt, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer briskly until beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (if necessary, add additional cup of water and continue simmering until beans are tender); do not drain beans.
- Discard bay leaves.
- Remove ham steak (which has taken on a weird black bean color), cut into 1/4 inch cubes and set aside.
- For the Soup:.
- Heat oil in 8 quart dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking; add onions, carrot, celery and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in beans, beans cooking liquid, chipotle chili, adobo sauce and chicken broth.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.
- To finish the soup: Ladle 1 1/2 cups beans and 2 cups liquid into food processor or blender; process until smooth, and return to pot.
- Stir together cornstarch and water in small bowl until combined, then gradually stir about half of the cornstarch mixture into the soup; bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to fully thicken.
- If soup is still thinner than desired once boiling, stir remaining cornstarch mixture to recombine and gradually stir mixture into soup, return to boil to fully thicken.
- Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and reserved ham.
- Ladle into bowls and pass garnishes.
This is a great soup! It goes together very quickly for a dried bean soup. I did have to cook the Bean phase for 2 1/2 hours and had to add water several times. I cooked the beans until they were al dente (tender all the way through, but not soft or mushy). Be sure to remember to process only some of the soup - gives it a lovely texture. Where I strayed from the recipe: I didn't have chipolte in adobo sauce so I substituted a dried hot red pepper from my garden (seeded because they're really hot). I wanted a thicker soup, so I only used 4 cups of broth and left out the cornstarch, lime and garnishes. I also doubled the carrot by accident and really liked it that way. The cumin was quite pronounced when eaten the same day, but the leftovers transformed into perfectly balanced flavors.
This tasted great, was filling and looked beautiful. I served with Sweet Cornbread and also had some pico de gallo salsa and chips for appetizers. I boiled as instructed but did not have any scum to skim off. I am thinking it might be since I had no fat on the ham steaks I used. I did not use any obodo sauce but did put in a little cyanne mix. The end result was lovely. This is one of my favorite soups now. Thanks a bunch!
Knock your socks off good soup! I would happily serve this to guests any time.It's very well flavored with the ingredients and the seasoning is right on the mark. I used a bit less broth for a thick soup and topped it with fat free sour cream and diced red onion. It made a wonderful dinner served with cornbread.