Total Time
5hrs 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 5 hrs

Another of my Top Ten favorites from Colorado Cache, a classic recipe we enjoy often at The Hotel California. The secret ingredients are the parsnips and the Madeira, of course. This soup is so good, it's scary!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Wash beans, cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain & wash again.
  2. Place beans in a saucepan and add 2-1/2 quarts of fresh water. Cover and simmer 90 minutes.
  3. Cook bacon in a large heavy kettle for a few minutes. Add celery & onions and cook until tender; do not brown. Blend in flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add ham and beef bones, parsley, bay leaves, garlic, carots, parsnips, salt & pepper and the beans with the cooking liquid. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours. Add more water if necessary.
  5. Remove bones and/or rind or hocks from the pot and set aside.
  6. Blend about 1/2 the soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender) and return it to the pot.
  7. Remove the meat from the bones or hocks, chop fine and return to the soup, discarding the bones.
  8. Add the wine.
  9. Top each serving with chopped eggs and float a slice of lemon on top, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
  10. Serve with additional Madeira to splash on top if desired.


Most Helpful

Made this for the first time tonight and absolutely loved it. The version here differs just slightly from what is in the Colorado Cache cookbook, but they are all changes that I agree with. Slightly more veggies here, and slightly less wine. The CC book calls for 3/4 cup which I immediately thought would be too much; I used 1/2 cup of Marsala and it was perfect, any more and I think the wine would overwhelm it. Next time I might add another 1/2 lb of beans too, just for texture, but the flavor here is unbeatable as-is.

zonker77 November 19, 2010

This was definitely a 5-star recipe for black bean soup! Wonderful depth and layering of flavors. I used 4 cans of black beans instead of the dried because of time constraints and simply added the liquid from the cans plus 8 cups of water for the soup. I didn't have ham hocks or shanks or access to any good ones, so I used an extra 6 slices of bacon instead (total of 12). I think this made the flavor too smokey for my taste, so next time I'm going to try hard to obtain good hocks prior to making the soup. Thank you!

lolablitz April 14, 2010

wow, I cant believe it has takem me this long to review i am making it for the 4th time tomorrow night. I followed the recipie exactly the first time, and since then, have just used it as a basis for whatever I have on hand. I now always save any leftover beef and/or in the freezer until i get a good size portion then make this. Also, sometimes just use bacon instead of ham. Thanks for a great backbone of a recipie to work from. Have also mixed in leftover white rice. THANKS

Princess Flowerbreath November 10, 2008

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a