Sunday, May 22, 2011

Recipe: Cuban Black Bean Soup

 After our trip to Florida, where we ate Cuban food, I wanted to continue with that food trend. I wanted to make some black bean soup using dried beans.  I found some beautiful black beans at the grocery store from the popular Bob's Red Mill company. (Their website has lots of recipes using their beans and grains, too).
I used the recipe on the back of the package, with some modifications of course!  I prefer a thick soup - the consistency of loose mashed potatoes, rather than liquidy.  But, if you prefer it that way, add more water or chicken stock.
Now, black bean soup recipes vary greatly.  Recipes include bacon, ham, sweet potatoes, ketchup, lime etc.  I went for a non-meat version and added a splash of lime to the nonfat yogurt topping.

Cuban Black Bean Soup

When using dried beans, they have to be soaked or pre-cooked first.  There are two methods to soften the beans and this isn't something that you can skimp on.
The first method is the easiest and takes the longest.  Go through the dried beans and remove and pebbles or sand that you might find -- this has to be done because even with great technology to clean the beans, some bean shaped rock might make it through the sensors.
Soak the beans overnight in a large pot.  (You should have 3 cups of water for every cup of beans.  After the time is up, drain and rinse the beans.  This is the best way to remove any flatulence producing qualities to the beans.
The second method involves bringing the beans to a boil in a pot with 4 cups of water to every cup of beans.  Boil for 2 minutes and cover.  Let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.  Then continue with the recipe.

1 pound dried beans - (soaked using one of the two above methods)
5 cups water
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 Bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp chili powder

2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T Red Wine Vinegar
salt & pepper
non-fat yogurt or sour cream

Add all ingredients into a large pot, except Worcestershire, Red Wine Vinegar, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender.  Remove some soup from the pot and mash the beans or put through a blender.  Return to the pot and add Worcestershire sauce and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and serve.
Serve over brown rice or white rice or serve with tortilla chips or crusty bread.
I like it with a dollop of yogurt and a squeeze of lime.
This also makes a delicious topping for nachos with a bit of melted cheese on top of a bed of tortillas.

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