Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cuban Black Bean Soup

I bought a new soup magazine, and the recipes all look pretty awesome. I started by making the Cuban Black Bean Soup (p. 80). This recipe is low fat and does not have any meat. The recipe does call for beef-flavored broth OR vegetable broth. I used beef broth because that's what I had in my cupboards.

This recipe gave me the opportunity to to cook with dried beans. My friend Amanda & some friends on Twitter have given me a lot of advice on dried beans. There advice mostly consisted of "let them soak for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggg time." This recipe also gave me the opportunity to use two new toys! My sister gave me an immersion blender for Christmas. It was a GREAT gift.

The other toy is a new Dutch oven. I splurged and bought it at an outlet mall. Isn't it pretty?
Remember how I said that I was told to soak the beans for a long time? Well, the recipe only called for 1 hour after boiling and 2 hour with some of the other ingredients. I was very skeptical of this. I let the beans soak overnight in the fridge, and I'm very glad that I did. On the flip side, oversoaking beans can lead to fermenting.

2 2/3 cups dried black beans
2 T vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cups of beef broth
3 cups of water
1/4 cup dark rum
1 t liquid smoke
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped

Rinse the beans. After soaking the beans for at least overnight, put the beans in a 4 or 5 quart Dutch oven. Cover the beans with water and boil, uncovered. Then, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. This is where I'm really glad that I purchased my Dutch oven. I used to try to do these things with a stock pot, and it just never worked out.

Drain the liquid and remove the beans. In the Dutch oven, now add oil on medium heat. Toss in the garlic and onions. Heat until tender.

Add the rest of the ingredients and the beans. Boil for two minutes. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for two hours. Then, make sure that the beans are tender. Dried beans take patience.

Now I used my fancy new immersion blender to smooth the mixture. You could use a blender or food processor. Once the soup is smooth, serve!
I really liked the unique taste of this soup. It was really different and almost peculiar. The liquid smoke added a lot of character. I recommend serving this soup with a grilled cheese.

Serenity in your kitchen means that you're okay when the magazine photo looks like this:...And your soup looks like this, but it still tastes delicious:


  1. Soup looks delicious! I recommend an overnight soak as well - you never know how long those beans were on the shelf in the store before they made it to your kitchen!

  2. the magazines have food stylists!!! we don't! As long as it tastes awesome, that's all that matters!

    Also - you didn't elaborate on liquid smoke.... do tell me more.

  3. I honestly do not know much about liquid smoke, but it tastes smokey in a warm healthy way--- not in a cough-cough smoker way. It's really difficult to describe how it tastes. I can't compare it to any other food.

  4. I bought it in my little grocery store, Coburns. I can't remember where liquid smoke was located in the store. I think that it was possibly by the steak sauce.

  5. Ha! I love the picture comparison! So true, so true!