Recipe by Manami
Chef Douglas Rodriguez of DeLaCosta restaurant in Chicago was born in America, but this recipe is inspired by his mother's black bean soup, which offered robust flavor for people who didn't have money to spend on meat for stock. Here we use both fresh and dried oregano because each imparts a different flavor to the final dish. The ham is listed in the ingredients but since I have always made my black bean without "meat" I made it that way again. This was in Cooking Light, 01/01/2008! Just another take on black beans that I think are great!! Cuban cooking reflects the influence of Spain and Africa as well as other Caribbean countries. Spicy heat is not as pronounced in Cuban cuisine as in other Latin fare.
Top Review by mdpfirrman
This has become my "go to" recipe for Black Bean Soup. Had to play around with the water level on the beans the first time or two. I also originally out thought the recipe and figured that it had to be a type or something with that much green pepper and onion in the recipe. I finally understood you're making a sofrito essentially to thicken the soup with all the green peppers and onions / shallots. I've ended up reducing the cups of water I start with to 10, not 12 and add as I need to (just enough to barely keep the beans covered). When you then add in the sofrito, it's really wonderful. Also, I sometimes skip the pumpkin seeds and garnish with tortilla strips and sour cream. I add the jalapeno right into the rest of the peppers in the sofrito versus using as a garnish. We sometimes also skip the meat, it's perfect as a vegetarian dish or using chicken bouillion as a cooking stock.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 12 1⁄2 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 1⁄2 cups chopped green bell peppers (about 3 medium)
- 2 1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped onions
- 1⁄3 cup chopped shallot (about 2 small)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups diced peeled avocados
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 cups thinly sliced red onions
- 1 1⁄2 cups chopped chopped 33% -less-sodium smoked cooked ham (optional) or 1 1⁄2 cups bacon (optional)
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 10 teaspoons unsalted pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1⁄3 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper (about 2 medium)
- lime wedge (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Place bay leaves and beans in a Dutch oven.
- Add 12 cups water to pan; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently.
- Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and fresh oregano; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
- Place vegetable mixture in a blender; add remaining 1/2 cup water; puree until smooth.
- Add vegetable mixture, sugar, and salt to beans; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Discard bay leaves.
- Combine avocado and juice; toss gently.
- Ladle 3/4 cup bean mixture into each of 10 bowls; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons avocado mixture, about 3 tablespoons red onion, 2 tablespoons ham, about 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 teaspoon pumpkinseed kernels, and about 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño pepper.
- Serve with lime wedges, if desired.